The search for a missing Saint John woman expanded on Wednesday with volunteers scouring the riverbank and wooded areas on the city's west side.


Yeonhee Choi, 45, was reported missing after leaving her home on Prince Street on the city's lower west side on April 22 at 6 a.m. (Courtesy Saint John Police)

About 20 ground search and rescue volunteers clambered through the thick brush and along the steep riverbank near the Reversing Falls, helping police look for Yeonhee Choi.

The members of the River Valley Ground Search and Rescue and York Sunbury Search and Rescue also searched the St. John River.

Choi, 45, who is from South Korea, was reported missing on April 22 after leaving her home on Prince Street.

Her husband and teenaged daughter are offering a $50,000 reward for information that helps police to locate her.

The family has only lived in Saint John for about 18 months.

Crews focused their search around the Reversing Falls, which is close to Choi's lower west side home and an area where she often walks.

Difficult conditions

"We've split up into three or four teams comprising eight to 10 members, and we're doing a grid search in this area," said Sgt. Jay Henderson of the Saint John Police Force.

"We're trying to exhaust all avenues and see if there's any clues as to the whereabouts of the missing woman," he said.

Stephen Moore, a member of the York Sunbury Search and Rescue, described the search as "very time consuming and slow going.


Volunteers struggled through tangled and steep terrain during the search for Yeonhee Choi on Wednesday. (CBC)

"It's very steep-sloped," he said. "And of course, the time of the year, there's a lot of runoff so it's slippery in places. Of course, the water itself along the shoreline is very slippery."

The only factor working in the searchers' favour is the season. The lack of greenery makes it easier to see.

They searched below the falls during the morning, then moved to above the falls, near the Fallsview Park, in the afternoon, using binoculars to see areas they were unable to access.

Choi is described as being approximately five-feet, four-inches tall, with short dark hair and two piercings on both ears.

She was last seen wearing black tights, a dark knit style sweater, a waist-length brown or black leather jacket, and black boots, which reach about halfway up the calf of the leg.

Choi was also possibly carrying a black knapsack.