Inuk woman's disappearance now deemed suspicious

Ottawa police now deem the April disappearance of Mary Papatsie suspicious, and the major crime unit is "still actively investigating," police say.

Major crime unit 'still actively investigating' disappearance of Mary Papatsie, 39, in April

Mary Papatsie, 39, was last seen in Ottawa in late April, police say. (Ottawa police handout)

Ottawa police now deem the April disappearance of Mary Papatsie suspicious, and the major crime unit is "still actively investigating," police say.

The 39-year-old Inuk woman, who was living in Ottawa, was last seen in late April. 

"We are not in a position to discuss any progress in the investigation, however we do consider her disappearance to be suspicious," police spokesperson Const. Marc Soucy wrote in an emailed statement Wednesday.

Papatsie is described by police as standing five feet two to five feet three inches tall, weighing about 140 to 160 pounds, with long, straight brown hair. She also has a small scar above her left eye from a piercing.

Investigators had earlier learned that Papatsie may have been wearing black jogging pants, a brown T-shirt, and blue and orange flip-flop sandals when she was last seen.

She may also have been carrying a purple and black backpack filled with clothing.

Not necessarily a homicide

The major crime unit took over the investigation in July, but it doesn't mean the case is being treated as a homicide, police spokesperson Const. Chuck Benoit said at the time.

"It's extra resources. The major crime investigator was available to assist in this," Benoit said in an interview in July. "Every missing person is important. It doesn't matter who is investigating."

Posters with Papatsie's image and description had been posted around Montreal Road, where she was last seen, he said. 

Ottawa police have also been in touch with RCMP investigators in the North, Benoit said. According to her family, Papatsie was raised in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, on Baffin Island.

Anyone with information is asked to call the major crimes unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).