When someone goes missing and the official search is called off, families are often left to look for their loved ones on their own.
But, there is an organization in Alberta that is now trying to help.
“I think there’s a misconception out there that when someone goes missing the officials and authorities are looking for that person until they’re found, and that’s just not the case," The Free Bird co-founder Kate Sinclair told CTV Morning Live Wednesday. "At some point they have to move on to other cases and it’s handed over to the family."
The Free Bird Project is a non-profit that provides resources, skills and supports to families still searching for their loved ones.
“The way we help families is getting involved right from the get go. When someone’s missing, the earlier we get involved, the better. If people know the word and we spread the word that an organization like this exists, I think we can have better outcomes,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair and her family have first-hand experience searching for missing persons. In November 2017, Sinclair’s brother in-law and his girlfriend went missing in a plane crash near Revelstoke, B.C.
“We were lucky that 10 months later we were able to recover the plane and their remains,” she said.
“Since then, my sister in-law Tammy [and I] got together and decided to start something to giveback to other families that are going through something similar, an ambiguous loss.”
Sinclair explained to CTV Morning Live her family was left to find their own resources and civilian volunteers to continue the search, adding that she understands how draining the process can be on the family.
“I think families find comfort in talking to people who have been through something similar,” she said.
Printing posters, organizing and spreading awareness through social media, getting boots on the ground or eyes in the sky are all part of the process in executing a search, and The Free Bird Project helps facilitate that.
“We really want to encourage families when they have a missing loved one to keep the word out there. Keep it going. Don’t give up,” Sinclair said.
The Free Bird Project is funded primarily by donations and profits made from merchandise sold on the website.