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Emotional plea in missing teen case

The mother of a Yorkton teenager who has been missing for three months made an emotional plea Friday in the hope of soliciting information about her daughter’s whereabouts.
Paula Bali
Paula Bali speaks to reporters during an RCMP press conference in Regina Friday updating the missing persons case of Mekayla Bali, 17, who disappeared from the bus deport in Yorkton on April 12.

The mother of a Yorkton teenager who has been missing for three months made an emotional plea Friday in the hope of soliciting information about her daughter’s whereabouts.

At an RCMP press conference in Regina, Paula Bali said her family is “incredibly distraught” about Mekalyla Bali’s disappearance and described what she was going through as a mother as “heartbreaking” and “unspeakable pain and worry.” She spoke of feeling as though she had failed Mekayla by not being able to protect her.

“You’re a beautiful, unique and delicate flower whom I’m afraid is being trampled in a world of the uncaring who don’t know the value and the treasure that you truly are and I’m scared for you,” Paula said.

Mekayla was last seen at the Yorkton bus depot April 12.

Before Paula’s statement, RCMP Inspector Jennifer Ebert, gave an update on the investigation and provided a detailed timeline of Mekayla’s movements between 8:20 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on the day she disappeared. Ebert said police have pieced together that timeline through extensive interviews, but there is one significant gap they are most interested in.

They know that she was at the east location of Tim Hortons between 10:40 and 10:45 a.m. and that after she left there she headed west on Broadway Street. At approximately 11:55 a.m. she showed up at Sacred Heart High School, where she was a Grade 11 student.

Ebert said the importance of accounting for her movements during that period is that someone whom she saw, or something that she did, may be pertinent to discovering where she went.

Police are also still seeking a 40- to 50-year-old man with a stocky build, muscular arms and a large tattoo of a cross surrounded by flames below his left elbow. Ebert reiterated that the man is not currently a suspect in any wrongdoing, but he was seen at the bus depot at the same time as Mekayla and left there around the same time. Investigators simply wish to speak to him to determine if he has any information about Mekayla, the inspector explained.

Responding to questions from the floor, Ebert told reporters that police have received many tips about possible sightings of Mekayla in various cities, but have been unable to confirm any activity since she was last seen at the bus station. The inspector said investigators still have no evidence the girl has come to harm, but three months is “incredibly unusual” in the hundreds of missing persons cases the RCMP investigates.

“For Mekayla to have been missing since April the 12th and for us to know nothing about where she’s been for the past months is very concerning,” Ebert said.

Also troubling is the fact there is no electronic trail for investigators to follow.

“As we know in this day and age, every individual leaves a footprint somewhere, and that’s why it is concerning that her footprint ends on April 12,” the inspector stated.

While police focus on the tattooed man and other possible sources of new information, Paula Bali spoke directly to her daughter, her voice cracking with distress.

“Mekayla, 17 years ago, my first whispered words to you were ‘it’s mommy and you against the world; I will always love and protect you’,” she said, noting last week was Mekayla’s 17th birthday. “That vow has not changed over time.”

She also spoke of her other children’s suffering.

“Mekayla, your snuggles and stories are missed by your brother and sister,” she said. “It is with such sadness they ask, ‘mommy, could you take that day away and just bring Mekayla home’.”

Ebert asked any one with information to contact Yorkton RCMP at 306-786-2400 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. She said no tip is too small and could end up being the critical piece of the puzzle.