Hundreds of people gathered at a Winnipeg community centre today to begin searching for a teen who went missing on the weekend.

Cooper James Nemeth, 17, was last seen during the early morning of Feb. 14.

Hundreds search for missing Winnipeg teen Cooper James Nemeth1:56

"I just want you to come home so [your parents] can hug you and tell you they love you," his aunt Laresa Sayles said.

"My heart goes out to all the families that have ever had to deal with this. It's not a joke, this is real. I hope we can get an honest answer."

He had a hockey game Saturday evening. After the game, Nemeth went to a friend's house on Amelia Crescent with a 22-year-old man who Sayles said is known to police.

Nemeth and the man then went on to a party in the Sun Valley area, according to police, and that's where he was last seen. 

'I just want you to come home so [your parents] can hug you and tell you they love you.' - Laresa Sayles

Sayles and others distributed flyers and mounted a search for Nemeth from Gateway Community Centre Monday afternoon.

"We've got a lot of 'he said, she said' stories — we're just looking for real facts," Sayles said. "We just want Cooper to come home and be safe."

Nemeth's phone last registered a signal at 10:34 p.m. Sunday in the Valley Gardens area, Sayles said.

Cooper James Nemeth

The search for Cooper Nemeth has been called off (Supplied)

"We got a one- to three-kilometre radius there. We don't know if the battery just died or if the phone was tossed or turned off at this point off."

David Townsend, one of Nemeth's Grade 12 teachers at River East Collegiate, has already scoured Valley Gardens, Harbourview, McIvor Park and areas in the northeast part of the city looking for his student.

"I'm concerned for his well-being," said Townsend. "I just want him found."

Family says he had 'tough year'

Sayles said her nephew has a 3 a.m. curfew and has never disappeared like this before.

He has had a "tough year," Sayles said, adding Nemeth was diagnosed with ADHD in the past year.

Cooper James Nemeth

Cooper James Nemeth is described as six feet tall and 170 pounds with an average build, short brown hair and brown eyes. (Winnipeg Police Service)

He is currently on medications and his parents are vigilant about making sure he takes them, Sayles said. 

The family is concerned he has turned to drugs in an attempt to cope with his diagnoses.

Scott Mickoski said he's known Nemeth since he was a toddler. He and some of the players from Nemeth's hockey team joined the search for him Monday afternoon.

"It's kind of stressful. Obviously you want him to walk in the door and say he's fine. You hope for the best but you think of the worst," he said. 

"Just hoping he can pull through wherever he is and come home to us — just want to see him again."

Nemeth is described as six feet tall and 170 pounds with an average build, short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black jacket with a River East Marauders hockey team logo on the front, black pants and brown runners.

Police are concerned about Nemeth's well-being and ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.


  • An earlier version of this story stated that Cooper Nemeth had been diagnosed with “ADHD, anxiety and depression in the past year.” In the fact, Nemeth was only officially diagnosed with ADHD. A member of the family confirmed their previous statement on the matter was an error.
    Apr 03, 2016 2:09 PM CT
With files from CBC's Erin Brohman