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'We all miss you, mom': Family pleads for answers in disappearance of New Westminster woman
VANCOUVER -- The family of a woman last seen Sunday night at her home in New Westminster, B.C., is pleading for answers as they try to find Nirla Sharma.
The 44-year-old's daughter says the family spent the weekend together and had dinner Sunday, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary when her mother went to bed.
But Monday at 4 a.m., when the mother of two usually gets up for work, 20-year-old Vanessa Sharma heard the sound of the front door opening.
"I thought she was just taking out the dog," Vanessa told CTV News. "When I went downstairs at 4:45 the door was still unlocked."
Nirla did not show up for work for her job at BC Hydro in downtown Vancouver that morning.
Her keys, wallet, and cellphone were all left behind at the family's Lawrence Street home in the Queensborough area that she shares with her spouse and two adult children.
The family checked for Nirla at her gym and became alarmed when there was still no sign of her. They then reported her missing to the New Westminster Police Department.
"It's not like her character just to leave. If she does, she lets us know. She always takes her phone with her," Vanessa said. "She won't just disappear."
Police are calling the disappearance "totally out of character."
"That escalates our level of concern," Sgt. Jeff Scott told CTV News. "We have our major crime unit detectives actively investigating. We are following up on any leads, anything from neighbours, anyone who may have been driving in the area who may have dash-cam footage."
Investigators are hoping to speak to anyone with dash cam video who was driving on Lawrence Street or Ewen Avenue between midnight and 6 a.m. on Feb. 24.
Police say they cannot yet tell if the disappearance is suspicious.
"The circumstances are concerning, for sure," Scott said. "As the days go by, it increases our level of concern."
Coquitlam Search and Rescue has also been asked by New Westminster police to help search for Sharma on Thursday.
Police don't believe Nirla had any mental health issues and her family says everything seemed normal.
The Sharmas are now putting up missing posters in New Westminster and checking with hospitals and women's shelters in case there's any sign of her.
"If you did just leave, that's fine," Vanessa said, when asked if she had a message for her mother.
"Just let us know where you are. We just want to hear from you — that you're safe and that you're sound and that nothing has happened to you."
Nirla's 19-year-old son, Rilesh, also had a message: "Please let us know where you are, please come home. We miss you. We all miss you, mom."
Nirla was wearing pink pyjamas when she went to bed on Sunday night. It's believed she was wearing a black jacket with a hood and a pair of Orange Nike runners when she left the house Monday morning.
The long-time New Westminster resident has several tattoos, including an "om" symbol on her left arm and a crown on her right wrist.
Drivers with dash cam footage are being asked to contact Det. Justine Thom at 604-529-2578. Anyone who sees Nirla is asked to call 911 right away.