Focus of search for missing woman moves to south Edmonton, police say

Police are now searching in south Edmonton for a woman who has been missing since Friday.

Police won't say exactly where in the city the search is being conducted

Nadia Atwi, 32, was last seen by her husband on Friday morning at their home in Edmonton. (Salwa Atwi)

As the search for a missing Edmonton woman moved into its fourth day, police shifted the focus of their efforts Monday to the city's south side.

Nadia Atwi, 32, disappeared on Friday. (Atwi Family)

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

Her daughter's vehicle was found in a ditch at Rundle Park around 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Weekend efforts to find Atwi focused around the park, where hundreds of volunteers and rescue teams with dogs joined the search.

The police search was shifted to south Edmonton on Monday. An exact location was not disclosed "to allow the members adequate space to conduct their search," police said Monday in a brief statement.

On Monday afternoon, two officers returned to Rundle Park to collect evidence shortly before 3 p.m.

A forensics officer photographed a section of a wooded area between Rundle Park Drive and the North Saskatchewan River, south of the Rundle Park Golf Course.

Behind the treeline, on a downward slope leading to the river, strips of red and orange tape fluttered from trees and bushes. The words "Search & Rescue" were printed on some of them.

A forensics officer photographed sections of a wooded area in Rundle Park on Monday. (CBC/Zoe Todd)
Strips of brightly coloured tape are tied to trees and bushes in Rundle Park. (CBC/Zoe Todd)

Family and friends expanded the search by Sunday night to include neighbourhoods near the park, said Atwi's cousin, Heba Atwi.

"It's been searched so many times, it's kind of a dead end at this point," she said of Rundle Park.

Posters of Atwi have been put up throughout the city and as far away as Fort Saskatchewan, she said. The family plans to search the University of Alberta campus, where Atwi graduated with a degree in education.

"Anybody who has ever met her just knows how kind and generous and funny [she is]," her cousin said. "If you're driving, look at every person walking, if you're in a store, look at every face.

"She's out there somewhere and we need to bring her home."

Missing woman Nadia Atwi has long, dark brown hair and brown eyes. (Atwi Family)
Nadia Atwi's mother, Salwa Atwi, joined the search for her daughter in Rundle Park Sunday. (CBC/Zoe Todd)

Atwi's cellphone, wallet and other personal belongings were found in her vehicle, her mother said.

The missing woman is about five-foot-eight and weighs 170 to 180 pounds. She has long, dark brown hair, brown eyes and was wearing dark clothing at the time of her disappearance. She requires medication and may be confused, police said.

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

She wears a hijab but may not have been wearing one when she left her vehicle, her mother said.

"Please, to everybody who knows where Nadia is, please let us know," she said.

"We have been doing everything possible that we could have done, we contacted all the people we know, we put a note on Facebook but we don't know. There are so many stories but we don't know for sure." 

Heba Atwi said the disappearance is out of character for her cousin.

"She's very friendly, very kind, speaks perfect English," she said. "This is absolutely just crazy. We don't even know what to think, what to do. We're just doing what we can, looking everywhere we can."

Police are asking anyone with information about the disappearance to contact them.

More than 200 volunteers helped Nadia Atwi's family search Rundle Park on Sunday. (CBC/Zoe Todd)
Search and rescue teams worked with dogs to comb through Rundle Park on Sunday. (CBC/Zoe Todd)