Manitoba RCMP are looking for new information about a teen from northern Manitoba who has been missing for a month, after an investigation and several searches of the area were nearly fruitless.
Tammy Nattaway, a 16-year-old from Garden Hill First Nation — a community in the Island Lake region, about 475 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg — was reported missing on July 31.
A family member saw her in Garden Hill First Nation on July 20, but that was the last confirmed sighting of Nattaway. She has been inactive on social media since her disappearance, Sgt. Paul Manaigre, Manitoba RCMP media relations officer, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
RCMP believe Nattaway is still in the Island Lake region, though there is a small possibility that she managed to fly to Winnipeg, Manaigre said.
“It’s very difficult to leave the area without people noticing,” he said.
The Island Lake region is only accessible by boat or by air, so flight passenger lists were reviewed, Manaigre said, and multiple interviews and door-to-door searches in Garden Hill and neighbouring First Nations were conducted.
“We believe that it is very difficult for her to have left. There is that possibility, that’s why we put it out there, but we still believe she’s in the area.”
Manaigre spent two days in Garden Hill while Manitoba RCMP underwater recovery and search and rescue teams looked for the teen, and helicopters searched the area’s thick brush from the air.
In total, police spent about 25 to 30 hours combing the area and following up on every tip they received, he said, but they found no trace of the girl.
The search team is no longer in the Island Lake region, but the local RCMP detachment continues to search, he said.
Community members still searching
Community members are also searching, and if they find any solid leads or physical evidence, the search and rescue team will be redeployed, Manaigre said.
Police are still treating this as a missing person case, because they don’t believe foul play is involved, and they hope information will come in that will lead to finding Nattaway safe, he said.
Hundreds of community members have searched for Nattaway, including as part of a house-to-house search in Wasagamack and Garden Hill on Aug. 4.
Garden Hill First Nation is offering a reward of $5,000 for any information that leads to finding the missing teen, police said.
“Any leads would help,” said Garden Hill First Nation Chief Dino Flett, who updated the community on the search Thursday via a video posted to social media.
“We’ve started searching on water, on land, by air. We’re just trying to locate her wherever she may be,” he said in the video.
“We ask you guys to continue praying for Tammy Nattaway and her family, and the community of Garden Hill, and for the searchers who have been looking day and night.”
Nattaway is described as five feet tall and about 100 pounds, and has short black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about the teen’s whereabouts or her disappearance is asked to immediately contact Island Lake RCMP at 204-456-2626, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or submit a secure tip online.