Police suspend latest search for Tamra Keepness but volunteers keep looking
REGINA (CP) - Regina police are pulling out of the latest search for clues into the disappearance of five-year-old Tamra Keepness, but say their investigation will continue until she is found.
Police had resumed their search for the missing girl on a six-kilometre square area of the Pasqua aboriginal reserve east of Regina on Friday, but no clues had been found by the end of Saturday.
Investigators were looking into the possibility that human remains found inside a burning van on Saturday morning might be related to the case, but police said the link so far was weak.
"The burned vehicle was found approximately 10 kilometres west of the search area," said Heather Russell of the RCMP. "Right now, there's nothing to connect these two incidents other than the proximity."
Russell said police had not identified the remains on Sunday, adding that it might take some time due to the severity of the fire. Police were also still trying to determine where the van came from.
Volunteers, meanwhile, continued to comb through dense brush on Sunday looking for signs of Keepness, but police were no longer actively taking part.
Regina Police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said only a few officers would remain on scene in case they were needed.
"After two days of searching, our investigators felt they had covered all of their objectives," Popowich said.
Keepness disappeared from her Regina home on July 5th and a massive one-week search by volunteers and police failed to find any clues.
Police resumed searching for the girl on Friday on the reserve with the help of trained volunteers, dogs, and aircraft. They would not say what lead them to renew the search, although there were reports that some children had spotted strangers walking through the area the day after Keepness disappeared.
Popowich said the investigation into the disappearance will continue even though police are not involved in the search.
"Our investigators simply continue, regroup, and redirect their efforts along other lines of inquiry," Popowich said.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]