It has now been more than a month since Jean Backman was reported missing in the Rural Municipality of Piney. And, RCMP today published a new photo, with hopes that it might lead police to solving this case.
Corporal Julie Courchaine with Manitoba RCMP says it was on October 19th when they first received a call to check on the well-being of the 70-year-old Backman. Police attended her property and residence in the RM of Piney but were not able to locate her.
Courchaine says that kicked off the investigation and that next weekend they deployed multiple resources to the area, including a search and rescue team, police dog services, and the Office of the Fire Commissioner. She notes they did an extensive ground search that weekend due to the fact that the area where she lives is quite isolated and has a lot of bush.
According to police, Backman was last heard from on October 15th, when she made contact with a friend. Investigators have now released a photo of Backman from October 11th, in which she was wearing a green jacket. Courchaine says investigators have not been able to locate this green jacket at her residence and now believe that she may have been wearing it when she went missing.
Courchaine says there have been no recent developments and there are not any strong leads that investigators are presently working on. She notes they continue to take statements and speak with friends, family, neighbours and community members.
"Just trying to figure out what happened to her," says Courchaine.
According to Courchaine, police are still treating this as a missing person's file. She notes they have no reason to think otherwise.
Courchaine says it is also difficult to know whether Backman is still in the area or if she may have left the region entirely.
"I mean her vehicle was at her residence, everything was in place at her residence," she says. "At this point, we're keeping all our options open. So, really (she) could be anywhere and (we are) just looking for anyone in that area or anywhere really, if they saw anything to just call us."
Courchaine asks the public to keep their eyes open if they live in that area or are travelling there. She notes if anyone spots anything suspicious, it never hurts to call RCMP.
Courchaine says there are not any search and rescue groups that are actively combing the area right now, but that will all change if investigators receive new information or evidence to suggest that another search is necessary.
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