'Where are you?': Christine Wood's parents still searching after 7 months
Family prepares to renew search for Christine Wood, last seen in Winnipeg last August
For 216 days straight, Melinda Wood has sent her daughter Christine a text message. Each time, she's reminded of the harsh reality: there's a good chance she will never get a reply.
"I'm always asking, 'Where are you?'" said Melinda Wood. "I'm always praying she'll respond."
Since last summer, George and Melinda Wood have been tirelessly searching for their daughter. The now 22-year-old disappeared Aug. 19 while she was in Winnipeg with the rest of her family from Oxford House First Nation.
Christine was last seen leaving the Days Inn on Berry Street. It's believed she left sometime after 9:00 p.m.
"Every tip that comes in, you get your hopes up. Hoping there's a breakthrough and she's found," said George Wood, Christine's father.
Birthdays, holidays and special occasions have come and gone over the seven months and five days since Christine went missing. But her parents' determination to find her hasn't dimmed.
"We're still holding on. Hoping one of these sightings is true," said Melinda, fighting back tears.
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While Winnipeg police are leading the investigation, the Wood family has been doing some digging themselves.
The pair continually search social media, they've taped up hundreds of flyers with Christine's photo, and they've stopped complete strangers on the street to ask if they've seen or heard of her.
"I used to hear it on the news. You never think it will happen to you. Until it does," said George Wood.
"You have a new outlook on what these people are going through."
Worry after two Indigenous women killed
Last week, the family of Jeanenne Fontaine, the cousin of Tina Fontaine, said she was shot to death and her home set on fire.
Fontaine's death came two days after another Indigenous woman was shot dead in the city. Shania Chartrand, 21, of Lake Manitoba First Nation was found in West Broadway with gunshot wounds.
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The news of the two deaths opened a brand new range of emotions for the entire Wood family.
"That's when I started getting really worried. I broke down. A lot of thoughts going in my mind," Melinda said. "I'm more worried now. I'm really, really worried and I'm scared for her."
For now, they can only hope someone out there can help them.
"I don't know what happened to her. I hope somebody comes forward and knows something — who was she with last, come tell us at least," said Melinda.
'Keep searching until we know something'
Since Christine went missing, Winnipeg's Bear Clan has helped in the search efforts. The Bear Clan's James Favel said he's received tips through social media. However, the group is hesitant about giving that information to the public as they don't want to compromise their own search.
"You seem like you get something credible and then it turns into nothing. We will keep searching until we know something," said Favel.
He has been in touch with the Woods since the start of their search for Christine. Now that the snow has started to melt, Favel is getting ready to ramp up search efforts in hopes of finding something that helps lead the Wood family to answers.
"It's very unfortunate. It's a terrible situation and they aren't the only ones suffering. There are so many people missing loved ones and we want to see them returned to their families."
In the coming weeks, the Woods will make their way back to Winnipeg to start a new search. They're hoping new information comes to light and is brought to the attention of Winnipeg police immediately.
"If anyone has seen her, please let us know," Wood said. "I'm breaking."
Christine stands five-foot-six and has an average build. She was last seen wearing a green top with a red striped Adidas jacket and denim shorts. Her hair is shoulder-length and possibly dyed red.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Winnipeg police missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.