Sask. First Nation volunteers band together to search for 2 'vulnerable' young members

A team of searchers in Muskoday First Nation have been spending 12-hour days trekking through bush in hopes of finding two young, missing members.

The last known activity from Alex McGillivary, 20, and Kathryn Cusveller, 24, was a post made on McGillivary’s Facebook page almost two weeks ago.

According to Muskoday First Nation Chief Ava Bear, they’re half siblings.

“We’re actually not sure of the last day they were seen because the place where they were staying, the people were away on holidays. When they got back, they weren’t there,” she said.

“They’re very vulnerable. Alex needs medication that he doesn’t have with him, so it’s really important that we find them.”

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Search, Rescue and Recovery Team and the Muskoday First Nation Volunteer Fire Department are leading the search.

On Sunday afternoon, they started going door-to-door in the community, searching yards and outbuildings, before covering more rural areas.

Troy Bear, the chief of the fire department, has been on the ground searching for McGillivary and Cusveller.

“We’re watching for signs of movement in the grass, which way the blades of the grass are laying, just walking into the trees. Is that path going into a tree, is there broken branches, is there signs of paraphernalia such as garbage or anything,” he explained.

Searchers have come across remnants of fires on the land, but no evidence indicating the pair is on the First Nation.

“Unfortunately, it’s things like this that bring the community together – seeing everybody active out there, everybody actively looking and just wholeheartedly wanting these kids to come home safe,” said Bear.

The team is working with Prince Albert police and the RCMP. They say there have been possible sightings of McGillivary and Cusveller in Prince Albert.

Michelle Vandevord is president of the PAGC Search, Rescue and Recovery Team, the associate director for Saskatchewan First Nations Emergency Management and a captain with the Muskoday fire department.

While search and rescue can be a difficult job, Vandevord said it’s all about helping reunite families.

“It goes back to our traditional, who we are as people, First Nations people … Whenever somebody’s missing, whether it’s First Nations or not, we come together as a community,” she said.

“Everybody on Muskoday knows the land. They know who we’re looking for and know the individuals personally.”

In a news release sent out last week, RCMP said McGillivary and Cusveller were reported missing on Aug. 26. Both have ties to Edmonton.

McGillivary is described as 5’9” and about 165 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes. Cusveller has dirty blonde hair, wears black-framed glasses, is 5’8” tall and weighs about 150 pounds.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call the Muskoday command post at (306) 940-8737, Prince Albert RCMP at (306) 765-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.

Do you have a story idea or news tip? Email us.