Police now say a woman and two children spotted in security footage at a Wal-Mart in Gatineau, Que., are not Erin Gray, 33, and her children, missing since Sunday from their home in Châteauguay, Que.
Earlier on Friday, Châteauguay police distributed pictures of what was believed to be Gray and her children at the store yesterday around 6 p.m.
Now, investigators say that they were mistaken, and that the three seen in the footage are residents of the Gatineau area.
Gray's sister Ashley Gray said the news from police came as a major disappointment.
"Now they're back to, I wouldn't say Square 1, but Square 1 and a half. I'm just trying to be hopeful," she said.
Police said the motive for the family's disappearance remains murky.
Ashley Gray told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Friday that her sister had grown convinced over the last two months that she was being followed while driving her car.
Gray said her sister couldn’t provide a description of the vehicles when asked by her family.
“She didn’t have any proof,” Gray told Daybreak host Ainslie Maclellan.
Gray’s family was never convinced that she actually was being followed, and never noticed any cars trailing them when they were driving with her.
But they now worry she was right.
“Maybe it had something to do with that. Maybe she was nervous, maybe she was scared. I don’t know. It’s really out of character,” Gray said.
Gray told CBC News that the family suspects Erin's disappearance may have to do with her growing interest in the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah.
They said she had gone to Kabbalah conferences in New York and Toronto.
Châteauguay police on Thursday released a photo of a gold 2001 Buick Century bearing the licence plate X08 EDT that they believe Gray may be driving.
Châteauguay police spokeswoman Nathalie Langevin told CBC News that it appears Gray left her home in a hurry with her two children, Rachel Kaya Beckles, 11, and Robert Clarke, 5.
"We can see in her apartment that she left rapidly. She left food on the table," Langevin said.
Ashley Gray said such behaviour was unusual for her sister.
“She’s very clean and would never do that,” Gray said.
She said her sister led a quiet life and wasn’t having trouble with anyone. She spent most of her time in the company of her family and didn’t have many friends.
She has no history of mental illness, Gray said.
“It’s quite sudden that she was paranoid,” she told Daybreak.
Gray began to worry that something was wrong when her sister missed a series of appointments on Monday.
She called Châteauguay police to report her sister missing at 10 p.m. Monday evening.
Gray’s family has now passed a sleepless week trying to locate the missing mother and her children.
"We’re tired, we’re drained, we’re not sleeping. It’s really rough," she said.