Police search rural properties for Edmonton woman missing for 2 months

Two months after 32-year-old Patricia Wendy Pangracs went missing, the Edmonton Police Service’s homicide unit was joined by search and rescue volunteers in Strathcona County on Saturday, looking for signs of her.

Edmonton police say they're still not sure if Patricia Wendy Pangracs alive or dead

Security footage from June 7 shows Patricia Pangracs at a Bruderheim gas station. (Edmonton Police Service)

Patricia Wendy Pangracs was last heard from on June 8.

On Saturday, a full two months after the 32-year-old woman went missing, search and rescue volunteers worked with Edmonton police to scour the land around a rural intersection in Strathcona County, looking for signs of her.

Edmonton police aren't sure if she's alive or dead.

"The best evidence that we have at this point would, on a balance of probabilities, lead me to the latter conclusion," homicide unit Det. Jared Buhler said. 
Missing woman Patricia Wendy Pangracs. (Edmonton Police Service )

"That's why Homicide is involved and Missing Persons reached the same conclusion."

More than 20 civilian searchers and five dogs combed through properties around the intersection of Range Road 233 and Township Road 514.

Police believe that in the early hours of June 8, Pangracs travelled to the rural intersection from Beaumont, just south of Edmonton, in a white 2011 Cadillac CTS with front-end damage. Police are asking people who live along the route to check their surveillance cameras.

"We don't know what happened from this point on June 8," Buhler said, noting Pangracs was last spotted in the area on foot. "It's possible that Patricia might have sought shelter on an acreage [or] farm around here."

Landowners consented to the searches on their heavily treed, grassy properties, he said.

"We certainly don't have any reason to believe they're involved in this investigation at all, but they've been very co-operative and we do appreciate their assistance in that," he said.

A search and rescue team scours the land surrounding a Strathcona County intersection for signs of Patricia Pangracs on Saturday. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The missing persons unit started investigating after getting a tip from one of Pangracs's friends on July 8 — a full month after she was last heard from.

Edmonton police released this photo of a white 2011 Cadillac CTS with damage to the front bumper on the passenger side. (Edmonton Police Service)

Security footage shows Pangracs and the Cadillac at a gas station in Bruderheim, about 60 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, sometime between the evening of Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8.

Police have been in touch with Pangracs's parents but say she had no family connections in the Edmonton area, explaining why her disappearance was not immediately reported.

"I think people in her social group were reluctant initially to bring it to the attention of the police," Buhler said.

Det. Jared Buhler of the Edmonton Police Service's homicide unit speaks near the Strathcona County intersection where missing woman Patricia Wendy Pangracs was last spotted. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Some people in Pangracs's social circle are criminals, he said.

"We're aware of a series of conflicts that have in some cases resulted in violence that preceded Patricia's disappearance and in some cases followed her disappearance," Buhler said.

"It's those circumstances, generally, some of which related directly to Patricia and some of which we believe that she was perhaps a peripheral player, that have caused us to become concerned."

The search around the Strathcona County intersection came up empty, EPS spokesperson Cheryl Sheppard said in an email on Sunday.

Media coverage of the search resulted in new tips to police, who asked anyone with information about the case to contact them.

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is an associate producer and reporter at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca or on Twitter @TandiwayK (https://twitter.com/TandiwayK).

With files from Anna McMillan