Saskatchewan

'She's out there somewhere': Family, community search for missing woman last seen in Regina

Jenaya Wapemoose was last seen on April 7 in Regina. Now, her family and community have organized a search to raise awareness.

Jenaya Wapemoose, 22, was last seen on April 7

Jenaya Wapemoose was a playful child and loved to laugh, her aunt said Saturday as searchers gathered together to try to raise awareness in the hopes someone can help find her. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

More than a month after a 22-year-old woman from Cowessess First Nation living in Regina was reported missing, her family is still looking for her — and raising awareness in the hopes someone can help them.

Regina Police say no family member has been in contact with Wapemoose since March 10, 2019. 

On Saturday, a search party of volunteers gathered in Regina's North Central community to try to find signs of where she might be.

"It's unusual for her to not keep in contact with family," said Wapemoose's aunt Debbie Delorme.

"We're here today to spread awareness that we're searching for her," she said. "Hopefully, we find her or we find out something. Somebody has to know something."

Around 70 people joined the search Saturday morning to show their support.

Wapemoose is young, active and artistic, Delorme said. The mother of a young girl is one credit away from finishing her Grade 12 diploma, said her aunt.

John James Wapemoose and Debbie Delorme are family members of Jenaya Wapemoose, a 22-year-old woman who was last seen in Regina on April 7. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

"She likes designing. Makeup, dyeing her hair different colours — she's so daring. One side is black and the other side is, like, blonde," said Delorme.

"And she loved her baby too, her little girl."

Wapemoose's daughter has been living with her father while Wapemoose was finishing her Grade 12, Delorme said.

"I believe she wanted to be a fashion designer," Delorme said. "She wanted to do something with her life."

Wapemoose is the youngest of eight children. Her mother passed away a few years ago from cancer.

Delorme said she has lots of good memories of Wapemoose as a young girl, including swimming in Crooked Lake while Wapemoose was living on Cowessess First Nation.

"She was always crazy, smiling, laughing," Delorme said. "Today, she's still like that."

The search party had around 70 people spread out as it began Saturday with more on the way, Debbie Delorme said. She's holding out hope her niece will be found. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

John James Wapemoose is Jenaya Wapamoose's grandfather. He remembers her as a playful child who had a hard upbringing but a close family.

"To me, she was having a hard time," he said. "Sad to say that people don't pick up on that right away — only until later when things like this do happen."

Families of missing persons need to look out for each other, he said.

"A lot of people are going through this and it's becoming too common," Wapemoose said.

"We live in a time of fear. This is supposed to be a very peaceful country and it is not that anymore," he said. "Sad, and we have to deal with that. It's not easy."

Special t-shirts were made for the search with Jenaya Wapemoose's picture on the back and a hand print over the heart on the front. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Delorme said she has hope that Jenaya Wapemoose will be found.

"As long as there's life, there's hope," she said.

"She's out there somewhere. Somebody knows something," she said. "Have a heart and let us know."

Jenaya's grandfather sent a message to her.

"Please give someone a call," he said. "We all love you, we all care for you. Deep down, we all care."

Volunteers brought out bannock for searchers as around 70 people looked throughout the North Central area for Wapemoose. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Jenaya Wapemoose is described as an Indigenous woman. She's about 5'4" and 130 pounds with a thin build, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She also has a tattoo of stars on her neck.