A candlelight vigil was held in Ottawa to raise awareness for adults who are missing in the Ottawa area, the first of its kind in Canada.
The vigil, organized by the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime in tandem with Ontario's Missing Adult Registry, took place at Remic Rapids near the Champlain Bridge Wednesday evening.
The event was organized to show support for families still coping with the uncertainty surrounding a missing relative and draw attention to the missing adult registry.
It has launched a new website to help families of missing adults, www.missingpersonsinformation.ca.
Mother of missing man lacked support
For Sue Kearns, it has been two years since her son David was last seen. She said there needs to be more support for families who are searching for a missing loved one.
"We've been on quite a roller coaster ride," she said at the vigil. "You don't know where to turn. You feel numb … I had no support because there is no support."
The only people Kearns had to turn to, she said, were Ottawa police officers.
Since then, Ottawa police have also created a missing persons unit, which they launched about one year ago.
New unit trained for missing persons files
In the past year, Ottawa police have received about 2,500 calls related to missing people.
"The vast majority of files are resolved quickly. Sadly, there are a number of files that remain unsolved," said Insp. Ian Kingham, who heads units including missing persons.
The unit is trained to speak with family and friends of missing people when tips come in, which Kingham said can be a difficult thing for parents, siblings and friends.
"These officers understand the emotional strain that missing persons calls place on family and loved ones left behind, and they strive to keep the families informed where possible and when possible," he added.
There are currently 25 unresolved missing persons files in Ottawa dating as far back as 1976.