Missing Yorkton girl's family marks her 18th birthday
'We just want to let Mekayla know that we love her and we miss her,' says mom
Sunday was her daughter's 18th birthday but there was no celebration at Paula Bali's home. Mekayla Bali hasn't been home for more than a year.
She was last seen at a bus depot in Yorkton, Sask., on April 12, 2016. She was 16 at the time and her family has been searching for her for the last 14 months.
Paula's birthday message for Mekayla is simple.
"We just want to let Mekayla know that we love her and we miss her and there's nothing in the world we wouldn't do to find her," she said.
"We ask her or anyone who has information to please reach out."
The family held a fundraising and awareness barbecue on July 1, the day before Mekayla's birthday, which Paula said helped focus their energy.
She still didn't sleep that night. She said that happens often on milestone days and other holidays as each special day missed — Mekayla's 17th birthday, her graduation, her 18th birthday — increases the concern they feel because they haven't heard from her.
"It's another milestone and part of you still keeps hope that perhaps today might be the day that we hear something from Mekayla, if she's able to contact us," Paula said Monday.
"You try not to sit and stare at a phone all day."
Paula said she estimates about 240 tips have been received so far and said police continue actively investigate leads. But nothing has resulted yet from these efforts.
"To me it's not acceptable that 14 months later I still don't know where my daughter is and we still don't have any more information than the day she went missing," she said.
"It's going to be interesting how we do a missing persons float," she said, "To keep in the mood of happiness yet be honouring and respectful to Mekayla. Sometimes those are difficult lines to walk."
Late last year, tips indicated Mekayla may have travelled to B.C. During the summer travel season, the family is encouraging people to take a poster with them to cities they visit.
"And perhaps someone may see her somewhere," said Paula. "That's our hope."