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Group hits Downtown Eastside streets in search of missing Indigenous woman


A group converged on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Wednesday morning to search for a missing woman.

Courtney Wale, 21, was reported missing on Jan. 13 in Coquitlam, but a tip to local outreach groups made them believe she’s in Vancouver.

“Right from Water Street all the way up to Keefer; every alley, every street, and we do a sweep all the way up to Victory Square,” said James Harry, the founder of All Nations Outreach Society.

According to the Wale family, Courtney was undergoing treatment at a healing centre in Coquitlam and was given a day pass to leave the premises.

Staff at Red Fish Health Centre for Mental Health and Addiction confirmed Wale was receiving treatment there, but would not provide additional information, citing privacy concerns.

“Due to client privacy and confidentiality, we cannot comment on any individual case or person. The well-being and safety of our clients is our top priority,” wrote a Provincial Health Services Authority spokesperson in an email.

The spokesperson went on to write that community outings and day passes are a key part of the recovery and are only considered after an “in-depth assessment” and planning with the client and care team.

Coquitlam RCMP say they have made it a priority to find Wale since she was reported missing nearly two weeks ago, but so far they have chosen not to issue a public notification about her disappearance.

“A number of factors, including ongoing investigative avenues, are taken into consideration when issuing a media release for a missing person,” wrote the RCMP in an email.

“This is a continual assessment, and should a news release be deemed beneficial to the investigation, an appeal for public assistance will be published at that time.”

The Vancouver-based Indigenous Women Rise Society sees this as a lack of action and is urging law enforcement to issue an alert immediately whenever a woman goes missing, as time could be of the essence.

“We need an army of people who are supporting this cause and raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and telling your friends and family and being notified is really important,” said Diana Day, the founder of Indigenous Women Rise Society.

Members of the Wale family told CTV News that they are preparing to come to the Lower Mainland this week to help in the search efforts.

The posters being plastered around the Downtown Eastside describe Wale as a 21-year-old with dyed black hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information regarding Wale’s whereabouts can contact Coquitlam RCMP and cite file number 23-1170. Top Stories

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