VANCOUVER -- Feb. 26 update: Family pleads for answers as major crimes unit investigates

New Westminster police, including the department's major crime unit, are searching for a missing 44-year-old woman.

Nirla Sharma was last seen when she went to bed at her home on Lawrence Street near Ewen Avenue around 9 p.m on Feb. 23. Around 4 a.m. on Feb. 24, a family member of Sharma's reported hearing the front door chime go off.

Police said Sharma normally arrives at work in Vancouver around 6:30 a.m., but she didn't come to work that morning.

The missing mother is described as "high risk" because police said her disappearance is completely out of character for her.

"We are very concerned for Mrs. Sharma because she has not shown up for work, and there are no obvious reasons why she left at 4 a.m. She left without telling anyone, and did not take any of her personal belongings, which is out of character for her," Sgt. Jeff Scott said in a statement. "We are asking for the public’s help to locate her so that we can ensure her well-being."

The New Westminster Police Department's major crime unit is also involved in the search for Sharma because of what Scott described as an "escalated concern."

She was last seen wearing pink pajamas with a pink T-shirt, but police said she could also be wearing a black jacket with a hood and orange Nike shoes. She's South Asian, about 5'3" tall and weighs about 138 pounds. She has a short black hair and brown eyes.

Sharma also has several tattoos, including an Om symbol on her left arm, a crown on her right wrist, a rose on her tailbone and one on her left ankle.

Anyone with information is asked to contact New Westminster police at 604-525-5411 or call 911 if you see her.