With days growing shorter, Cortney Lake's family continues to search

Four months after Cortney Lake's disappearance — with no charges laid in what police have deemed a homicide investigation — her family continues to search.

At least 1 item belonging to Lake found in searches, but aunt won't disclose what it was

Cortney Lake, 24, has been missing since June 7. (Aamie Gillam Photography)

Four months after Cortney Lake's disappearance, her family continues to search.

Family-led searches — more than 60 so far, according to Lake's aunts, Glenda Power and Donna Walsh — have covered a vast territory, from Seal Cove near Holyrood, to Bay Bulls, and as much of the Avalon Peninsula as they can.

Lake has not been seen since June 7, and police are investigating the disappearance as a homicide, although her body hasn't been found.

We just need to bring her home to bury her. We just need to give her the dignity of a final farewell.- Glenda Power

Everything searchers find and turn over to the police is a potential clue, one they hope will be the key to finding the Mount Pearl woman and bringing her home.

"We have found lots of things, actually. One item in particular has been confirmed to be that of Cortney's," Walsh told CBC's St. John's Morning Show on Thursday.

She wouldn't identify what was found, just that it was located near Torbaymans Pond off the Trans-Canada Highway by the Irving station west of St. John's.

Satisfied police are working hard

"But every search we're out on, we're waiting and wishing and hoping and praying that today we find more things."

Power said the police have been in regular contact with the family.

"They're asking us to be patient and certainly have assured us that they have a large investigative team on this and are working hard every day to find Cortney's remains and to be able to get to a point where they can arrest a murderer or murderers," she said.

But whether the family is satisfied with the investigation is still a hard question to answer given that it's been four months and Lake hasn't been found.

Glenda Power, left, and Donna Walsh say family and friends of Cortney Lake have conducted more than 60 searches in the four months since the Mount Pearl woman disappeared. (Paula Gale/CBC)

"So we can't say we're satisfied that way, but certainly I would say that we've been assured many times by the police on the level, the number of officers who are working on this," she said.

"They are committed. They've told us that. We know they're working hard. It's easy as a family to get frustrated when we're not privy to the details of the investigation day by day, but we're pretty comfortable that this is a high-priority case for them."

Somebody knows something

Walsh said the lack of charges has been difficult to accept.

"There's somebody or some people walking around out there that has answers, and we continue our search. We continue our fight, we continue looking for our beautiful Cortney, and these people can end that. They can end that today by giving some information. It's very difficult."

Until the snow dictates that we can't go, we'll go.- Donna Walsh

Power stressed that information can be provided anonymously too.

"We just need to bring her home to bury her," she said. "We need to give her the dignity of a final farewell, rather than knowing she's just left where someone disposed of her. It's just heartbreaking."

Lake's ex-boyfriend, Philip Steven Smith, was released from prison in late August after being arrested for breaching court orders, including one to stay away from Lake.

The Telegram reported this week that sheriff's officers have been unable to locate Smith to have him appear in court on a request by Lake's family for a peace bond .

That's disheartening for the family too, said Walsh and Power.

Evening searches to end

And while the police continue their own investigation, family and friends will continue to search, even as the days grow shorter. With winter coming on, evening searches will end, but the family is planning to continue afternoons and weekends.

"Until the snow dictates that we can't go, we'll go," said Walsh.

A family-led search starts Thursday at 5:15 p.m. on Aberdeen Avenue.