SASKATOON — Efforts to find Dawn Walker and her son are now into their second week.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations held a news conference Tuesday attended by Saskatoon Police and the RCMP to provide an update on the situation.
However, there was not an abundance of new news to report, other than a heightened sense of urgency in trying to find Walker and her son Vincent.
“Time is ticking,” said Erica Bowden, FSIN search co-ordinator. “It is now days that Dawn and [her son] are missing. We not only have a situation where an Indigenous woman is missing, but we have a situation where an Indigenous child is missing, a seven-year-old boy. This is incredibly, incredibly serious because we don't know what the situation is. Everything is on the table as far as scenarios go, yet nothing is on the table right now where scenarios go. So, we must all of us keep our minds open to what exactly may be where Dawn ... may be right now.”
The two were last in contact with friends and work colleagues on July 22. Since then, attention has focused on the Chief Whitecap Park as well as the riverbank of the South Saskatchewan River.
Last Monday, members of the RCMP located a red Ford F-150 registered to Walker, at the Chief Whitecap Park south of the city. Saskatoon police also reported some personal belongings and "evidence of recreational activity," were located.
A search effort has been underway. At the news conference Tuesday, police reported the search has been extensive, focusing on the Chief Whitecap Park and the river.
S/Sgt. Grant Obst of Saskatoon Police Service said a number of agencies were involved. The search is being handled by the RCMP at this point, he said, while Saskatoon police are involved in the missing persons investigation. The last known location where Walker was seen was in the city of Saskatoon.
Obst said that their own investigation has gone beyond the missing persons unit — a number of officers from other units have “come together to assist in an effort to get a lot of these moving parts taken care of sooner rather than later.”
In response to reporters’ questions Obst said consideration is being given to previous contact the Saskatoon Police have had with Walker, but said he was not prepared to go beyond that. As more information comes to light, he said, updates will be provided.
It was also confirmed they do not have her cellphone, but did have records related to her cellphone.
S/Sgt. Greg Abbott of RCMP spoke of the search effort. He said it has extended from Chief Whitecap Park to the weir in Saskatoon.
Abbott told the news conference they plan to continue the search north of the weir.
Resources used have included the underwater recovery team, the canine unit, drones, surface craft and sonars, and by air, among others.
Bowden said the FSIN is looking to co-ordinate an Indigenous-led search effort and bring in expertise from their nations in the effort.
Chief Richard Stonechild of Okanese First Nation expressed his gratitude to all individuals supporting the investigation, including the RCMP and Saskatoon Police.
“I just want to reassure the family that the Okanese First Nation and the community love and support you and are going to do everything we can to support you, support the investigation,” said Stonechild.
Stonechild also asked people to take time to check their properties, for anything out of the ordinary.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron indicated that if Walker and her son have not been found in the next 48 hours to expect another announcement: of a reward offer.