Dennis and Jane Aubertin, the parents of missing Malakwa resident Nicole Bell, and Marney Portugaise, aunt of missing Yankee Flats resident Ashley Simpson, hold a banner to raise awareness of murdered and missing women during a gathering at a bridge in the Yankee Flats area on Nov. 16. (Black Press file photo)

MMIW drone team fundraising for summer searches

Organizers expect the searches to expand this summer

As the weather improves, organizers of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Drone Search Team (MMIW) say they are looking for volunteers to join what is expected to be a large search this summer.

Founded in Enderby by a group of residents who wanted to continue the RCMP’s search for missing women in the area, the MMIW Drone Search Team is helmed by Jody Leon and Wendy Mohr.

The team launched last fall after concern began to mount when five women, Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wertz, Ashley Simpson and Nicole Bell went missing from Vernon, Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Enderby in a short period of time. To date, only one woman has been located — Traci Genereaux, whose remains were confirmed discovered at a Silver Creek farm on Oct. 21.

Wendy Mohr, vice-president of the search team said, with the search season about to pick up, the non-profit group is looking to increase their manpower and their arsenal.

To do this, families of the missing women and the MMIW Drone Search Team are holding a fundraiser at the Splatsin Centre in Enderby from noon to 6 p.m. on April 28.

According to Mohr and Leon, all funds raised will go towards the purchase of more technically advanced drones, as well as supplies needed to go out on searches, including gas, food, water, surveyors tape, markers, drone batteries, cell phone data and flashlights.

For more information, or to volunteer as a team member or to help with the fundraiser, contact the MMIW president Jody Leon at 250-306-1240 or vice president Wendy Mohr at 250-804-9752.

Erin Christie

Morning Star Staff


@VernonNews
erin.christie@vernonmorningstar.com

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