Search for Cooper Nemeth continues as hockey team 'hit hard' by disappearance
'Just hope someone finds something,' says aunt of missing 17-year-old boy
Nemeth has been missing since early Sunday, and those who know him hope they will find him or anything that could link searchers to his whereabouts.
"We have no leads," said Laresa Sayles, Nemeth's aunt.
"We're more co-ordinated today, though. Just hope someone finds something."
Nemeth's grandparents and a family friend gave volunteers flyers and maps of areas to search, including parts of North Kildonan, East Kildonan, Harbourview South and Elmwood.
Some of his friends searched in the Harbourview South area for Nemeth, who goes by the nickname "Cip."
"He's a fighter. He wouldn't give up or go down," said Kelsey Schneider, one of Nemeth's best friends.
The search has also extended into social media, with friends using the hashtag #findcip to encourage others to share information.
'We miss him,' says coach
Also on Tuesday evening, the River East Marauders AA team played its first game without Nemeth, a centre.
For many on the team, the last time they saw him was at a game on Saturday evening, not long before he went missing.
"He was joking around, he was throwing hits, making plays, just doing everything he'd usually do. He's a happy guy," said Taylor Engel.
"So much concern just for the family mainly, but just wondering where he is and if he's OK," he said.
"Obviously it hit us hard. Main guy on the team, he's probably our best player."
Team members said Tuesday night's game helped get rid of some frustration and bring people together. Players wore labels bearing Nemeth's nickname, "Cip," on their helmets.
"The game doesn't mean anything to us. It's just more of a bonding situation for the players, for the parents," said head coach Barry Rochelle. "Our thoughts are all with the family."
Rochelle described Nemeth as a talented hockey player who never misses a game and is the "life of the dressing room."
"When he's in there it's a different team. We miss him, that's for sure," he said, his voice cracking.
The team joined search efforts after their game on Tuesday night.
Active police investigation
Nemeth is six feet tall and weighs about 170 pounds with an average build, short brown hair and brown eyes, Winnipeg police said.
His disappearance is under "active investigation," police said.
Nemeth was last reported seen during the early hours of Sunday wearing a black jacket with a River East Marauders hockey logo on the front.
Nemeth and the man then went to a party in the Sun Valley area, according to police, and that's where the teen was last seen.
His parents are waiting by the phone at home as investigators go through his phone records and follow up on leads, Sayles said Tuesday.
"They're absolutely exhausted, emotionally drained. I mean, their first-born son is missing, you know? I think any parent would feel that way," she said.
Police are asking anyone with information on Nemeth's whereabouts to contact the missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.
Crisis response team at school
Earlier on Tuesday, a crisis response team was on hand at River East Collegiate so students who are friends of Nemeth can share concerns and information they might have.
Principal Diana Posthumus said Nemeth is a Grade 12 student who is set to graduate in June.
"Great kid, he's doing all the right things, and so he's one of those students that we're hoping will find his way back and that he'll be able to graduate in June," she said.
The teen's disappearance has been difficult for friends like Katrina Colles, who said she hasn't heard from Nemeth since they went to a house party on Friday night.
"It's just crazy. Like, Friday I was with him. He's missing now? It's just all too hard to process," she said.
Colles, a fellow Grade 12 student, said it has been difficult going to school when all she wants to do is help search for her friend.
"It's really hard. Like, I'm trying to keep it together," she said. "Especially, like, everyone being so close to Cooper … it's really difficult."
Posthumus said while his disappearance has been hard on students, all everyone can do is try to stay positive.
"I think it's tough for anybody who's got a lost loved one and when we hear about the missing individuals across the province, it's one of those things that's now felt first-hand by some of [the] students that haven't experienced that kind of thing in the past," she said.
With files from the CBC's Erin Brohman and Courtney Rutherford