Manitoba

Catherine Curtis search continues in Winnipeg

Volunteers have joined the family of Catherine Curtis on Wednesday to continue searching for the missing 60-year-old woman, who hasn't been seen since Monday morning.

Missing woman is 5-foot-4, 85 pounds, with blue eyes, white hair; last spotted in St. James

Catherine Curtis is described as 5-foot-4 and about 85 pounds with blue eyes and long white hair that was in a ponytail. (Courtesy Winnipeg Police Service)

Numerous volunteers have joined the family of Catherine Curtis to search for the missing 60-year-old woman, who has not been seen for two days.

The search continued on Wednesday, with volunteers meeting at the Sturgeon Heights Community Centre.

Curtis was last seen Monday morning in the St. James area, said Winnipeg police.

"We're very concerned for her well-being," said Scott Curtis, her son.

Scott Curtis said the current focus is on parks and trails and areas, close to bodies of water, because his mother loves the outdoors.

"She loves nature, she loves park settings," he said. "She's originally from the country, so we just feel like that would be a nice place for her to go for some peace and solace."

Curtis said the family has been received numerous tips to date, but no solid leads. He said it's been frustrating not knowing exactly where to search.

"There's lots of lows but there's still lots of highs," he said. "There's some hope, there's a lot of supportive people, and we're seeing new people today that weren't able to come yesterday."

Outpouring of support appreciated

Curtis added that he has been touched to see friends and complete strangers showing up at the Sturgeon Heights Community Club, offering to help.

"She's very sweet and very loved, very supported," he said. "I wish she could be here to see the outpouring of support and all that she's given back to people…. It's coming back to her."

Search for Catherine Curtis

7 years ago
Duration 1:28
The search for Catherine Curtis, 60, continues Wednesday morning at Sturgeon Creek Community Centre.

Among those who have joined the search is Laresa Sayles, the aunt of Cooper James Nemeth.

Hundreds of volunteers had searched for Nemeth when he went missing in February. The body of the 17-year-old was found a week later and Nicholas Bell-Wright, 22, was charged with second-degree murder in the case.

The Bear Clan, a volunteer Winnipeg organization that does North End security patrols and helps search for missing people, sent five people to help search for Catherine Curtis.

Ninondawah Richard, one of the five Bear Clan Patrol members, said they scoured wooded areas along Prairie View Road and Ness Avenue, focusing on a field behind the Living Prairie Museum.

Richard said the Bear Clan group normally takes part in searches in the North End, but added that this case has touched many people in the community.

"It's like somebody's daughter or granddaughter or grandmother or auntie or cousin," he said.

"I don't want my mother or grandmother or auntie or cousin to go missing, I'll be hurt. That's why we come together as Bear Clan to you know to find this person."

Hilary Brezden (left); Scott Curtis, son of Catherine Curtis; and Cooper James Nemeth's aunt, Laresa Sayles, search for Catherine Curtis on Wednesday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Sandy Siepman, Catherine Curtis's first cousin, said he hasn't seen her since October but felt he needed to do something when he learned she was missing. He and his wife went searching in the St. James area on Wednesday morning.

"Last night it was difficult sleeping already because you figure we've got to go do something. We just can't not do anything," he said.

"We have to at least try and see what we can do because I don't know how she could survive — she's very frail now and down to 85 pounds."

Had been admitted to hospital

Curtis was admitted to Grace Hospital on April 13 for mental issues, said Janelle DePeazer, her daughter. Her doctors diagnosed her with anxiety and depression but did not deem her a suicide risk, DePeazer said.

Curtis left on a hospital-sanctioned unaccompanied walk and never came back.

She had refused to take some of her medication before she left the hospital, DePeazer said. 

"She has started taking medication, but it hasn't been taking too well to her, and she's also been very tired, very frail. She's lost a lot of weight, so we're concerned that she may not have been able to find her way around," said Scott Curtis.

In a statement to CBC News issued Wednesday, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said it is not investigating Curtis's disappearance as a critical incident at this time, but it has asked her care providers to review what happened.

As well, it said it has requested a "review by care providers who were not in direct contact with her to ensure that nothing has been missed."

"There were no concerns identified by either team that indicated there was a risk to her safety that was missed," the WRHA's statement reads in part.

The health authority says it is supporting all efforts to help locate Curtis safely.

Scott Curtis and volunteers searched for her Tuesday night in the St. James area, in front of the Grace Hospital and in parks in the area, he said. Searchers have moved to the southeast because hospital surveillance cameras recorded her walking in that direction on Monday morning.

Surveillance footage shows Catherine Curtis leaving Grace Hospital on Monday morning. (Courtesy of Janelle Depeazer)
Scott Curtis said his mother was spotted in a flower shop in the Courts of St. James on Monday.

"Please, check your properties carefully and report anything that you may see," he said.

Catherine Curtis is described as 5-foot-4 and about 85 pounds, with blue eyes and long white hair worn in a ponytail.

She might be wearing a navy blue jacket, blue jeans, white sneakers and either a white baseball cap or knitted grey toque, police said.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is urged to contact the missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.

With files from the CBC's Nelly Gonzalez

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