Atwi family urges public to keep searching for missing kindergarten teacher

The Atwi family met with reporters Tuesday to give their missing daughter, wife and mother a message. Nadia Atwi, 32, was last seen by her husband at their home near 48th Street and 146th Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

'I just want you alive,' mother says

Nadia Atwi, 32, was last seen by her husband at home in the area of 48th Street and 146th Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Friday. (Supplied/Edmonton Police Service)

The family of missing Edmonton woman Nadia Atwi met with reporters Tuesday to give their daughter, wife and sister a message.

"I just want you alive," said Salwa Atwi, the missing woman's mother. "I just want you to know that I love you, Nadia."

Nadia, 32, was last seen by her husband at their home near 48th Street and 146th Avenue around 6:30 a.m. on Friday, said Salwa.

The family, seated together at a home in the city's northeast, urged Edmontonians to continue searching for Nadia.

Family 'heartbroken' by disappearance

Nadia was not at her home Friday morning when Salwa came to pick her up for their morning carpool to work, her sister Randa Atwi said.

When Nadia's husband, Ali Fneich, answered the door, he told her mother that Nadia had gone to pick her up instead.

Nadia never showed up to work Friday, and stopped answering her phone. Later that day, the family started to worry.

Nadia is a mother and kindergarten teacher at a private Arabic school in Edmonton.

Her vehicle, a black Chevrolet Equinox with licence plate number BWR 6282, was found in a ditch at Rundle Park around 4:30 p.m. Friday.

A search began shortly after police found her vehicle, shoes and phone in Rundle Park.

Now in its fifth day, family and friends of Nadia have moved the search outside the Edmonton area, across the province.

Nadia's father, Akram Atwi, said he was "heartbroken" at his daughter's disappearance.

"This is not the Nadia I know," he said. "You always call me ... if you're not feeling well."

Nadia needs medication and might be "confused if approached," a statement from the Edmonton police said Sunday.

'They are praying for you everywhere'

Police have not found any significant leads in her sister's case, Randa said.

Since her disappearance, a coordinated social media campaign has been launched by her family and friends. A Facebook group has more than 3,600 members looking for Nadia, hanging posters around the city and employing drones to search over cliffs and areas not accessible by car or by foot.

Randa said they have no reason to suspect that Nadia would have left the city, but said "anything can help."

Salwa Atwi said the search for her daughter has brought the city together, with strangers coming to the Atwi house with food, water and coffee to sustain the family and all the volunteers while they search.

More than 200 people joined a search party at Rundle Park over the weekend.

The family has received messages from families and acquaintances they know in Lebanon.

"They are praying for you everywhere, in every language, every religion," Salwa said. "I hope you will be here, safe, with us soon."

Anyone with information about Nadia is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567. 

With files from Zoe Todd