UPDATE: Police focus search near missing teen's Pictou Landing home

Staff ~ The News webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on October 17, 2011

UPDATE: 12:03 p.m. Oct. 17 – PICTOU LANDING – The main focus of Monday’s search for missing teen Amber Kirwan is the wooded area around her home, says Const. Ken MacDonald with New Glasgow Police Services.

Search and Rescue teams have completed the search of the Heathbell area and are now focusing their efforts in Pictou Landing.

MacDonald says there’s “not much I can divulge” about the outcome of the search in Heathbell.

Search and Rescue teams from Halifax, Colchester and Spring Hill are joining Pictou County Volunteer Ground Search and Rescue to search the area.

 

UPDATE: 8:51 a.m. Oct. 17 – NEW GLASGOW – Four Search and Rescue teams from around Nova Scotia will continue to search for Amber Kirwan today.

Teams from Pictou County will be joined by their counterparts in Halifax, Springhill and Colchester County. Currently, they are finishing a search near the Big Gut Bridge in Pictou Landing but other wooded and water areas of interest at various locations through the county will be searches.

Police are still urging people not to draw any conclusions when they notice police conducting searches throughout Pictou County, says Const. Ken MacDonald with New Glasgow Police Services.

Police also want to reinforce that information in relation to this case will be updated by police through police information press releases and not through social media sites.

Today, police investigation will also focus on following-up on tips and information and collecting possible items of interest provided by the public. 

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NEW GLASGOW – The search for Amber Kirwan intensified as police focused in on two locations in the county this past weekend. 

New Glasgow Police Services, which is now integrated its investigation with the RCMP, along with ground search and rescue teams, were set up at the Heathbell Road near Lyons Brook and Hidden Cove Road, Pictou Landing to conduct searches for evidence related to the 19-year-old missing woman’s case. 

“Right now, there are search areas throughout the county and this is one of them,” Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Police Service said Sunday afternoon in Heathbell. “The area of the Big Gut Bridge in Pictou Landing is another one. It’s basically that someone calls in information in the form of a tip and the information maybe that they’ve spotted some clothing in some areas.  Just like anything else, police have to check that out and confirm if anything is in relation to the case. That hasn’t been confirmed in any of the sites so far.”

Kirwan has been missing since Oct. 9th when she had left Doolys about 1:30 a.m. and started walking towards Big Al’s Convenience Store by herself to meet her boyfriend, Mason Campbell. However, Campbell says when he got there a short time later, she was nowhere to be found.

Police K-9 services were spotted at Heathbell Road Saturday searching in a wooded area that is known for its ATV trails. Pictou County ground search and rescue volunteers were at Heathbell Road early Sunday morning conducting an evidentiary search and they remained there throughout the day. An RCMP helicopter flew over both Heathbell and Pictou Landing many throughout the weekend.

In Pictou Landing, a command centre was set up on Hidden Cove Road, which is near Big Gut Bridge. RCMP divers were in the waters near the bridge while ground search and rescue teams were walking the shoreline and wooded area looking for evidence related to Kirwan’s case. The search was expected to end for the day at dusk.

MacDonald said both searches cover a large area and it takes time to do a “systematic investigation and search.”

The police officer cautioned the public about drawing conclusions about the case from the search sites.  “As has been the case during the week, investigators continue to conduct searches of wooded areas and water areas at various locations throughout Pictou County. Police urge the public not to draw any conclusions when they notice police conducting searches throughout Pictou County,”  MacDonald said.  

 

 

Meanwhile, public support for the Amber and her family continues to be strong with large crowds taking part in awareness events and candlelight vigils over the weekend. 

Kirwan’s mother, father and brother released green balloons and received hugs and support from the crowd gathered in local parking lot for a human ribbon event Saturday in Blue Acres. 

As of Saturday night, more than $2,000 had been raised from a balloon-a-thon and  many people chose to wear green and let their green balloon float into the air during the human ribbon event. 

Sammy Fralick, 21, of New Glasgow started the green ribbon campaign for Kirwan and organized the human ribbon event because she wants the search to stay strong. 

“I want to keep everyone motivated. I don’t want it to slip under the rug and people go back to their normal lives. We are going to do this until we find her,” she said. 

Katelyn Taplin of Stellarton said she felt it was important to take part in the event because it shows the family it has the support of the community.

“I think it shows a lot of awareness to people because there are still people out there who don’t have any clue that she is still missing,” she said. ”It keeps the hope alive and keeps her friends and family focused, and keeps their mind of some things for a little while.” 

Prayer vigils and candlelight ceremonies were held in downtown earlier this week while another candlelight vigil was planned for the early morning hours of Sunday to mark the one-week anniversary of Kirwan’s disappearance. 

Mariea Leil-Bowser, who is coordinating the volunteer effort from the North End Recreation Centre, said there is still a steady steam of people coming to centre wanting to put posters up and donate money to the Kirwan family. 

“The support has been phenomenal in this town and the community has pulled together,” she said. “The donations are going into an account in the bank at TD Canada Trust for Amber, her family and Mason.... It’s in the thousands. Their lives are on hold. They have been home, praying together, being supportive to one another. Mason has been out trying to find her, searching around for her.”

A $5,000 reward has also been offered for information that will lead directly to Kirwan’s whereabouts. The money was collected through donations of family and friends.  

The New Glasgow Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police continue to investigate and ask for the public assistance with information about her whereabouts to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously anytime at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by Secure Web Tips at www.crimestoppers.ns.