The official search for missing Langley teen Mandy McPhee was called off at midnight on Tuesday, hours after SAR officials and police outlined the extent of the search to the media.
“The family is continuing to do its own search,” Cpl. Holly Marks, who speaks for Langley RCMP, said on Wednesday morning.
There has been no sign of the 16-year-old since she vanished from her Bookswood home, near the intersection of 208 Street and 42 Avenue, on Sunday.
Police have received a “substantial” number of tips that are being followed up as part of the investigation, Marks said.
Amanda (Mandy) Grace McPhee was last seen by her mother, Wendy, at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday when she went to bed, taking the family dog into her room. Her mother noticed her missing at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. The dog was at home.
Mandy is the McPhees’ only child.
Three dozen trained searchers from as far away as Lions Bay joined volunteers to comb ravines and bush land within a one mile radius of her home.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mandy’s parents attended a news conference at the east end of the George Preston Rec Centre at 42 Avenue and 208 Street where the search and rescue operation was centred.
After Marks said that police are sure that there is no criminal element to Mandy’s disappearance, her father said, “We are confident that she is just out there somewhere.”
Police are using Facebook, missing children’s organizations, including B.C. Child Find, and flooding the area with posters in the hunt for the teen.
Looking at the cameras, Mike McPhee addressed his daughter. “If you can see this, check your (Facebook) wall.”
A Grade 11 student at Langley Christian High, Mandy had arranged to meet a school friend on Sunday to study for end-of-term exams. She never arrived at her friend’s home.
“She took a wallet with a small amount of money. No cell phone, no ID,” her father said.
Marks said there is no evidence of a forced entry into the McPhee home, and police believe she walked out of the front door. Both police and her family say it is out of character for Mandy to disappear.
“Mandy has never run away before,” Marks said.
She said that police who examined Mandy’s computer found nothing to suggest that she is the victim of Internet luring.
Mike McPhee said that if she walked along busy 208 Street, Mandy must have been seen by someone.
She had “bouncy hair” that would have been noticed, he added.
“If you know, phone the RCMP,” he pleaded, adding that if anyone saw her, it could help police establish a time.
“If someone is holding her, do the right thing, just let her go.”
He expressed optimism that everything “will turn out well.”
He described his daughter as a typical 16-year-old who is looking forward to more schooling during the summer. Her focus is on going to university, and she looks up to her cousins and friends. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, and there is no indication that she was being bullied at school. There had been no arguments at home.
His daughter is a Canuck fan and had talked about going downtown with her friends. But, her father said, she would be unlikely to go to Vancouver on Sunday when there wasn’t going to be a game until Monday afternoon.
Mandy’s father was on a golfing trip in the Shuswap when she disappeared. He said his daughter and wife had been shopping for Mandy’s planned holiday to Mexico.
Looking directly at the cameras, he said: “Parents and kids, don’t live in fear, but watch each other’s back. Take care of each other.”
Wendy McPhee, anguish etched on her face, expressed her love for her daughter before walking with her husband into the mobile search and rescue command centre.
“Please get word to us that you are safe,” she pleaded.
Mandy McPhee has blond hair, stands 5 foot, 3 inches tall, and weighs about 160 pounds. She may have been wearing a black Gore-tex raincoat, black track pants with a narrow yellow strip down the side, and black Converse running shoes.
Wendy and Mike McPhee answer questions about their daughter Mandy, 16, who vanished from the family’s home in Brookswood on Sunday.
Natasha JONES/Langley Times
Family’s search continues
The official search may be over, but Mike and Wendy McPhee are leaving no stone unturned in their desperate bid to find their daughter, Mandy, 16.
With their family and friends, the McPhees are asking for the public’s help to conduct ground searches and place posters around Langley.
They are asking anyone who is willing to help to come to their house at 4284 208 St. to pick up a poster and map.
Bev McPhee, Mandy’s aunt, is co-ordinating the search.
She is also directing people to Facebook where they can follow a link on the Event Page to ‘Please Help Find Amanda.’
The link to download the poster is at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150272493231341&set=o.126120714136154&type=1&theater.
Copies of the original can be made at Staples.
Bev McPhee said that once posters and maps have been handed out, she will track the areas being searched, and note the name of the contact person for that area.
She asked people to search the areas around their own homes.
“Check your own yards and outbuildings, and talk to your neighbours,” she urged.
Anyone with information is asked to call Langley RCMP at 604 532-3200, or the family at 604 209 0987. To help with the search, call Bev McPhee at 1-250-589-5919, Susan Smith at 604-202-6073 or Shelly Baxter, 604-807-4401.