mba-missing-catcheway

Jennifer Leigh Catcheway last contacted her family on June 19, RCMP said. ((Police handout))

The Manitoba Search and Rescue Association has upped the reward for information to $7,500 in the search for a teenager who has been missing for four weeks.

Last week, the association said it would pay $2,500 for information leading searchers to Jennifer Leigh Catcheway. The Portage la Prairie girl has been missing since June 19, the day before her 18th birthday.

The reward jumped to $5,000 on the weekend, and spokesman George Leonard said it was being increased again Thursday after the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs kicked in an additional $2,500.

"Somebody knows something," Leonard said.  "A reward is a way to make sure that people step forward, and I believe that this will eventually provide the key information that we need."

The search for Catcheway has focused on the area around the Dakota Tipi First Nation, southwest of Portage la Prairie, where it's believed the teen may have been attending or planned to attend a party.

Searchers, including four professional teams with dogs, combed a wide area surrounding the small First Nation, including the banks of the Assiniboine River. The operation is also looking at other areas of interest, Leonard said last week.

"We get a lot of calls from people that will phone and say, 'I didn't think it was important, but…' and then they provide this piece of information. And sometimes small pieces like that can help make up your puzzle that you're trying to solve," Leonard said.

Two men were taken into custody late last week for questioning on the case, but were released without being charged.

Catcheway is described as an aboriginal woman with a fair complexion, medium-length brown hair and hazel eyes. She is about five feet seven inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds.

Anyone with information on Catcheway's whereabouts is asked to call the RCMP in Portage la Prairie at (204) 857-4445, Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or Manitoba Search and Rescue at (204) 777-0553.