A family from The Pas, Manitoba, has been scouring a large open area on the outskirts of Winnipeg on the advice of a medium who told them a missing woman may be found there.

Amanda Sophia Bartlett was last seen in 1996 when she was 17 years old.

Family members told CBC News that although the teen went missing from a group home in Winnipeg, there was no missing person report made at the time.

"We just waited for her to come [home] 'cause she was 'that type of girl,'" Helen Bignell, the teen's mother, told CBC News Saturday.

She said her daughter was known to go off on her own for a time, and eventually return home.

"Then years turned into year after year, and no Amanda," Bignell said.

She said she went to police after several years had passed without hearing from her daughter.

"Finally I went to the cops in The Pas and I asked them if they could help me look for my daughter and they told me that they don't do family reunions," Bignell said.

Bignell said a medium in The Pas suggested the family look for Bartlett in a field near King Edward Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Around 15 people have been involved in the ground search, which has included checking out ditches in the area.

Kyle Kematch, who is among the volunteers helping the Bartlett family's search, has very personal reasons for helping. His sister, Amber Guiboche, and cousin, Sylvia Guiboche, are also missing.

Bignell said she was overwhelmed by the large area in which they were directed to search.

"It's not easy for us to come up here," Bartlett's sister Janet Lowther, added. "We have families and jobs back home."

Lowther said she is concerned that police did not seem to respond to Bignell's report that the teen was missing.

"I just think maybe something should have been done at that time," she said. "But we were never taken seriously. Amanda was never taken seriously."

The Winnipeg Police Service has a missing person file on Bartlett, but no one from the department was available to talk to CBC News about the case.