Family pleads for tips to find niece who disappeared eight months ago

WINNIPEG — The family of a Manitoba woman who disappeared eight months ago is urging anyone with information to come forward.

Melinda Lynxleg of Valley River First Nation has been missing since March 31, 2020. In those eight months, RCMP said the 41-year-old has not accessed her bank account, contacted friends or family, or been active on social media.

“Melinda is loved. She comes from a huge family and we all miss her,” Betty Lynxleg, Melinda’s aunt, told CTV News.

“We just want to find out if she is okay. We haven’t had any communication with her all this time and that is not like Melinda to not be in contact with her family, with her parents, with her siblings.

MELINDA’S FAMILY CONTINUES THE SEARCH

It has been a long eight months for the family as they follow up on any tip, rumour, or piece of information that may lead them to Melinda.

RCMP said officers have interviewed more than 50 people and followed up on numerous tips.

Betty said RCMP have been helpful in sharing information, but when it comes to searching, the family is largely on their own.

They have been out searching communities, riding quads through the bush, and scouring the area Melinda is believed to have last been seen. At one point, Betty said they found Melinda’s purse, but nothing else.

“We’ve gone off rumours and stories,” Betty said. “We are looking for any information that could tell us where Melinda is, if anybody has seen her, where they last saw her – anything that would bring us to further routes that we can investigate.”

The search has been wearing on the family, Betty said, including Melinda’s six children.

“They are heartbroken. They are missing their mom, they don’t know where she is at,” said Betty, adding the children’s grandparents are now looking after them as the search for Melinda continues.

SUPPORT FROM FAMILIES LOOKING FOR LOVED ONES

Betty said the family has reached out for support from others who are experiencing similar situations, including Bernice Catcheway, whose daughter Jennifer has been missing for 12 years.

READ MORE: ‘We’ve never stopped searching’: Family of Jennifer Catcheway continues search 12 years since disappearance

She said Bernice has helped them navigate searching for a loved one.

Betty said at one point she received a text from someone claiming they had her niece and demanded a ransom. Betty said Bernice experienced a similar situation and warned her the text was likely a scam.

“To find out it was a hoax or a scam – I don’t know how people do that to people who are in hurtful situations like this,” Betty said.

Melinda is described as five-foot-five and weighing 190 lbs, though RCMP believe she may have lost a significant amount of weight. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Melinda’s family is urging anyone with information to call Roblin RCMP at 204-937-2164 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

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