Thunder Bay

Search expands for missing Indigenous woman in northern Ontario

The Bear Clan Patrol has joined the search for Emily (Chico) Brown, a missing woman from Wabigoon Lake First Nation near Dryden Ont., who was last seen on March 16.

Emily Brown, 43, was last seen on March 16 in Dryden, Ont.

Emily (Chico) Brown, 43 was last seen on Thursday March 16 in Dryden. (Sheila Chief-Ainslie/Facebook)

The Bear Clan Patrol and Ontario Provincial Police have joined the search for a missing woman from Wabigoon Lake First Nation near Dryden Ont., who was last seen on March 16.

Emily (Chico) Brown, 43, was reported missing on March 18 by members of her family who were concerned for her well-being, according to Treaty Three Police.

The Bear Clan Patrol of Fort Frances, Ont., a citizen group that helps in searches for missing Indigenous women, joined the search for Brown on Thursday night.

We're constantly beating the pavement right now- James Eastman, Fort Frances Bear Clan Patrol leader

"Thus far we've come up with open-ended information, but we're constantly beating the pavement right now," James Eastman, a patrol leader for the Bear Clan told CBC News, adding that the group has received unconfirmed reports of sightings of Brown.

"[We're] going door to door, different businesses, places she's been frequent to visit."

Provincial police are also taking part in search efforts.

People in Dryden have been very receptive and supportive, Eastman said, adding that residents of Kenora and Thunder Bay are also trying to spread the word about Brown's disappearance, in case she's not in the Dryden area.

Another Bear Clan chapter in Kenora is searching that community and the two units are in constant contact with each other, Eastman said.

Searchers using social media

A number of tips and suggestions have come through the Fort Frances Bear Clan Facebook page, Eastman said, adding that individual participants in the search are also getting tips.

"It's not validating information," he said. "But we are trying to piece different information together so we can get a clearer picture, maybe, of her whereabouts."

The group is also handing out posters and speaking to people on the street.

Searchers will stay in Dryden as long as they can, Eastman said.

"Nobody's given up, everybody's got high hopes," he said.

Provincial police say Brown is five foot four inches tall, 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a black jacket and blue or black pants with slip on shoes. Emily has long, black hair and brown eyes.