Saskatchewan

Search effort for missing 33-year-old woman stalled

A search effort for a missing 33-year-old woman set up by Regina's White Pony Lodge has stalled. Organizers hope for more support to get efforts underway.

Tina Marie Gambler last seen Oct. 2

Tina Marie Gambler's family formally reported her missing on Tuesday. (Regina Police Service)

Despite the best efforts of Regina's White Pony Lodge, including preemptive social media outreach, a search for missing 33-year-old Tina Marie Gambler never got underway.

Organizers had invited volunteers to gather at the community organization's 5th avenue location by 5 p.m. Thursday to receive a briefing from Regina Police before launching the first part of a 4-day search.

But by 7 p.m., the police officer in charge of the briefing had long since left, as there were only three people present for the search — two organizers and the missing woman's step-sister.

Family concern

Gambler's step-sister, Juanita Langan described her as a woman with a big heart and a mother to six children.

"She has a lot of people that care for her, a lot of people that lover her dearly."

Gambler made contact with a family member recently by phone, but her location is still unknown, Langan said.

Juanita Langan, the step-sister of missing 33-year-old Tina Gamble, says a community effort to help find her sister would let the missing woman know she is cared for. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

A search for her step-sister would go a long way to show Gambler that she's cared about, Langan said.

"I worry about her every day because living the lifestyle she does, it's a worry."

"Still, what people do on the other side, it doesn't define them as a person. They're still a human being, they still have feelings, they're still loved."

Raising awareness

White Pony Lodge co-founder Shawna Oochoo worked to make the best of the low turnout, offering photos and information about the missing woman to passers by.

"The ideal situation would be to have local community members come out and support something like this," she said, adding, "And when a person does go missing from our community, that it's taken seriously.

Participation, she said, would not be limited to helping with a physical search. People could also provide donations to the lodge and help to create awareness about a missing community member.

"Advocates, activists, indigenous leaders, the city — we all need to come together for this, she said.

"When a young indigenous woman — or a person in general — does go missing within our community, what is the strategy?" she asked.

'They just want her home,' says Shawna Oochoo, co-founder of the White Pony Lodge. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Oochoo says she'll be handing out information on the missing woman until enough volunteers come forward to start a search for the missing woman.

"A lot of the times community members know each other, and there's some things that they won't share with Regina Police Service that they might share with us," she said.

"All she has to do is just reach out."

Tina Maria Gambler was last seen on October 2. She is described as being five feet, seven inches tall, weighing 130 lbs., with a thin build and shoulder-length brown hair that matches her eye colour.

She has a tattoo of her last name on her right arm and small devils tattooed on both her forearms.

It is not known whether the woman is in any immediate danger.

Her family formally reported her missing on October 17.

If a search does eventually get underway, those looking to volunteer have been asked to dress warm, wear proper footwear, and bring a working flashlight.

"When she's feeling down and out, we're here. All she has to do is just reach out," Langan said.

Anyone with information about Gambler's whereabouts is being asked to contact the Regina Police.

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