The full-scale search for a special needs woman who went missing Thursday afternoon at Sasamat Lake, near Port Moody, B.C., continues today.

Port Moody Police, Coquitlam Search and Rescue, and volunteers are scouring the area for any sign of Joy Zhang, 21.  Searchers have also brought in infrared cameras to help in the search.

"We’ve gone away from the trails and we’re walking through the bush now looking for her — perhaps she’s huddled down, she’s scared," said Mike Coyle, Coquitlam Search and Rescue manager.

"We have a group of people who are going to be door to door to make sure everyone in the area searches their backyard."

Zhang was at the lake with a Douglas College program for students with developmental disabilities when she and another student told staff they were going for a walk around the lake. The second woman was found by searchers late Thursday night.

Coyle says searchers have found no clues or evidence to lead them in any particular direction.

'We believe she is not actively seeking us'

He said they’re concerned Zhang might be too scared to answer the calls of searchers.

sasamat lakeSasamat Lake, B.C.

"We’re more worried about her state of mind — that she’d be very afraid spending two nights out in the dark and that she’d probably be very thirsty," he said.

"[We’ve been told to use] her favourite song, and a certain phrase, and to use her father and mother's voice … One of our search and rescue members is out with the father and mother, walking one of the trails we've walked several times."

Coyle says they didn't expect the search to take this long.

"The confounding factor is, we believe she is not actively seeking us," he said. "It's difficult to search for this long and not find any clue. It's mystifying to a certain extent because we've had very good coverage of trails and areas near trails."

Michelle Gagnon, who knows Joy and also has a special needs daughter, has spent several days helping out with the search.

"She’s a sweet, loving young lady, very timid, very shy," Gagnon said. "This is what we're hoping, she's hiding somewhere and afraid to come out."