The family of a First Nations woman who has been missing since the spring is pleading for help from the public with hopes of bringing in new information about her location.
Melinda Lynxleg, 41, was last seen in March near her home community Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation, northwest of Winnipeg.
“We have no real answers. There’s been a lot of rumours, stories, that sort of thing,” Melinda’s aunt Betty Lynxleg told APTN News.
The mother-of-six has been missing since Mar. 31. Lynxleg says Melinda visited friends outside the community and was believed to be walking home – but she didn’t make it.
At the time of her disappearance the province was in the early stages of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The community was on a lockdown and residents coming in and out had to check in with security at the blockade. There is no documentation Melinda checked in when she returned, according to Lynxleg.
It is believed Melinda was around the area at some point before her disappearance.
“We did do a search on the ground of that area. There was a purse found and it was identified [as Melinda’s] by her oldest daughter,” said Lynxleg.
Manitoba RCMP is also renewing calls for information. This is the fourth time in seven months RCMP have made public pleas for tips.
“Melinda is loved. She has a family, she has friends, and we just want to know where she is,” Cpl. Julie Courchaine told APTN.
RCMP said Melinda has not accessed her bank account and there’s been no activity on her social media.
In June, RCMP put out a release saying there was a potential sighting of Melinda in Winnipeg a month earlier. However, now Courchaine said this is an “unconfirmed” sighting.
She adds the investigation has hit a standstill and officers are once again relying on help from the public.
“We have interviewed over 50 people in regards to Melinda being missing as well as liaising with partner agencies. We’re following up on tips and we’re just doing everything we can to try and have some answers for her family,” said Courchaine.
The family has been conducting their own searches including scouring vast terrain in their territory.
Lynxleg appreciates the RCMP for their work but believes there should be an Indigenous investigative team to assist in missing persons’ cases.
She said it’s been, “very straining,” for the family to search without the help of drones, quads or cadaver dogs.
“Just being family members we’re just looking. If we had somebody that was trained and had equipment I think it would help for all of us,” said Lynxleg.
Anyone with information is asked to call Roblin RCMP at 204-937-2164 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.