Candlelight vigil held for man missing since mid-November
Shane Kowerko last seen wearing blue jeans, cream-coloured hoodie, black shoes, blue and white tuque
More than two dozen people gathered in the parking lot at Garden City Collegiate Tuesday night to hold candles in memory of Shane Kowerko, a man who has been missing for over a month.
Kowerko was last seen on Nov. 13 wearing blue jeans, a cream-coloured hoodie, black shoes and a blue and white tuque.
The vigil was held near the corner of Sinclair Street and Jefferson Avenue, where the man was last seen, according to his mother, Susan Kowerko.
"Today we're celebrating and trying to spread a little hope and awareness — for my brother, who has been missing since Nov. 13, and any others who are missing loved ones during this time, that have gone through this," said Jaelene Greenaway, Kowerko's sister.
"Just to know that there's a community that's there for you out there, hoping and praying by your side."
The ceremony of the vigil was short, but there was clearly a lot of love and support for the family by those in attendance.
After a prayer, Greenaway read a passage on behalf of her mother.
"Missing someone and not being able to see them is the worst feeling ever," she read. "I close my eyes, I see your smile, I hear your laugh.
"Wherever you are, we'll find you. I'll never give up loving or looking for you."
Kowerko turned 35 years old Tuesday. After Greenaway read her passage, everyone crowded together to sing 'Happy Birthday' and then cut cake.
"The message today is to love those that are near you, always be there for them, give them hugs, let them know that you're there and you'll work through things with them," said Susan Kowerko prior to Tuesday's ceremony.
Kowerko battles with schizophrenia and depression, and has been having a hard time as of late, his mother told CBC News.
"He's been trying to do better for himself, but he has a slip up every now and then, thinks he's doing well, gets off his medication. Just doesn't realize how much that he does need the medication for his mental health."
Despite the amount of time Kowerko has been missing, his mother is hopeful she will see him again.
"It's been heartbreaking not knowing — it's the unknown that's the worst," she said.
"Shane, we love you. We want to know you're safe," she said. "We just want you to come home so that we can work through this with you. Happy birthday."
Shane Kowerko is described as six feet tall, with a Jiminy Cricket tattoo on the right side of his neck.
Police provided photos of Kowerko, but noted his hairstyle may have changed and he may or may not be clean-shaven.
A Facebook page has been created to help find Kowerko, and the family is organizing a search for him on Dec. 28.
Anyone who knows where he might be is asked to contact the missing persons unit of the Winnipeg Police Service at 204-986-6250.
With files from Dana Hatherly