Volunteers from Coquitlam Search and Rescue are assisting in the search for missing New Westminster mother Nirla Sharma, which is now in its fourth day.
On Thursday, about a dozen Coquitlam Search and Rescue members were doing a ground search of the area near Sharma’s home in Queensborough, checking parks and along the shoreline of the Fraser River as well as some areas near her home that she is known to walk in.
“We will also have police officers out doing neighbourhood canvassing,” Sgt. Jeff Scott with New Westminster Police told CTV News. “There is going to be a lot of activity in Queensborough today in our attempts to locate Mrs. Sharma.”
The 44-year-old was last seen at her Lawrence Street home in the Queensborough area on Sunday night. But family members heard the front door of the home open around 4 a.m. Monday morning, and Sharma hasn’t been seen since.
- Read more: Sharma's family pleads for answers
Her belongings, including her bank cards and cellphone were left behind.
Major crimes detectives are involved in the search, with police calling the circumstances concerning, and saying the behaviour is extremely out of character for the long-time BC Hydro employee.
On Thursday, New Westminster police once again said they were not yet sure if the disappearance was suspicious.
“At this point, this is a missing persons investigation,” Scott said. “We are not at a point in the investigation where we can rule out foul play. So the detectives are exploring all the different avenues and search and rescue is one of the different avenues to help answer the question of what happened to Mrs. Sharma.”
Volunteers with @CoquitlamSAR are fanning out in greenspaces in #NewWest as they search for missing woman Nirla Sharma, who was last seen Sunday night. Nothing has been ruled out in her disappearance and major crimes continues to investigate https://t.co/3MAzi02iUJ @CTVVancouver pic.twitter.com/SCH6sZNyfy— Sheila Scott (@Sheila_Scott) February 27, 2020
Family members spent much of Wednesday putting missing signs up in New Westminster with the hope someone may have seen something that will give them answers about where the mother of two adult children could be.
After canvassing the area on Wednesday, Police said Thursday that investigators had found video from early Monday morning showing someone with a similar appearance to Sharma walking in the area, but they have not been able to confirm the person’s identity.
Nirla Sharma wasn’t known to have any mental health issues and her loved ones say everything at home seemed totally normal, with no unusual behaviour.
“It’s not like her character just to leave,” Sharma’s 20-year-old daughter Vanessa explained. “If she does, she lets us know. She always takes her phone with her. She won’t just disappear.”
Police released new images on Wednesday to show the clothing Sharma was believed to be wearing when she left the house, including pink pyjamas, a black hooded jacket, and a pair of orange Nike running shoes.
#NewWest police have also shared photos of clothing items that are similar to what Sharma is believed to be wearing. These are generic images, not photos of her actual belongings @CTVVancouver https://t.co/rmFF1d2rof pic.twitter.com/cVtZrYUqZD— Maria Weisgarber (@ctv_mariaw) February 26, 2020
Police are also appealing for dashcam video taken between midnight and 6 a.m. Monday near Lawrence Street and Ewen Avenue.
Anyone with information or tips about Sharma should call New Westminster police at 604-525-5411.
Anyone who sees Nirla Sharma should call 911 right away.