The daughter of a missing woman from the Sprague area is holding out hope that her mother is still alive.
According to RCMP, 70-year-old Jean Backman last made contact with a friend on October 15th. Four days later, Sprague RCMP received a request to check on her wellbeing. Officers attended and searched her property and residence but were unable to locate her.
Here we are in the last days of November, and though RCMP have done an extensive ground search, deploying multiple resources to the area, Backman is still nowhere to be found. The Office of the Fire Commissioner was called in, there were searches done by air and even the Hutterian Emergency Aquatic Response Team (HEART) offered its services, but still nothing.
Her daughter Vanessa Backman says early on in the investigation they used Police Dog Services, but she notes by then the weather had already changed and her mother had been gone for too long for the dogs to be able to find any helpful scent.
According to Backman, the ground searches are continuing, and they have extended the search radius to beyond the general area where she resides. She notes posters have gone up in neighbouring towns and she expects to begin bringing more awareness to some of the larger urban centres including Steinbach and Winnipeg.
"My hope is that she is somewhere close-by in the area," says Backman, when asked where she thinks her mother might be. "Possibly in the woods."
Backman explains that there is a lot of crown land that hugs the trails that she walks along.
"It is possible that she did possibly become lost," offers Backman. "And it is our hope that she has found some type of shelter."
Backman adds her mother lives in a popular hunting and trapping area, with many cabins and shelters. She says it is entirely possible that her mother sought shelter somewhere.
Backman says her mother lives by herself and there is nothing to suggest in her house that she was planning on leaving for any length of time. Backman refers to her mother as an active 70-year-old woman with no health concerns.
Backman's message to residents and motorists in the area remains the same, and that is to be aware of anything unusual. On November 20th, RCMP released a new photo of Jean Backman, one taken from a business where she made a purchase in the days leading up to her going missing. The photo shows Backman wearing a green jacket and her daughter says they believe she was likely wearing that jacket when she went missing.
Individuals in the area are asked to check their buildings, cabins, or hunting blinds and to look through footage from their trail cams, just in case something can lead to Backman being located.
Anyone who may have any information on the whereabouts of Jean Backman is asked to contact Sprague RCMP at 204-437-2041, your local RCMP detachment, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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