“Hope. That’s what this is about tonight, hope.”
Those were the words softly spoken Saturday evening by Alina Durham, the mother of 23-year-old missing Chilliwack woman, Shaelene Keeler Bell.
On Feb. 27, a small group of family and friends gathered inside the garage at Durham’s house for a candlelight vigil for Bell who has been missing for four weeks.
“This is a candle-and-prayer vigil to bring Shae home and to bring awareness to the public that she is still missing. Please do not give up hope,” Durham said.
The vigil began with a prayer read by Sarah McCracken, community development pastor at Southside Church.
“Tonight, God, we ask for help and we thank you for your hope that we can come to you and give you our tears, give you our pain, and you take it,” McCracken said. “And we ask that Shae will be returned to us.”
Durham spoke briefly and lit a candle for her daughter. She then lit two more candles, one for each of Bell’s sons with messages written on the outside of the candles reading “I miss you Mommy, Love Sauyer,” and “I miss you Mommy, Love Graeson.”
Friends and family members joined Durham and lit their own candles before pausing for a minute of silence.
Near the end, the group shared what they wished to do with Bell when they do see her again. One hoped for birthday parties and holiday dinners with family, another wanted to have a late-night McDonald’s run with the boys, while another said they wished to blast music and sing with her.
“I want her back and never let her out of my sight. I want to hold her and tell her I love her,” Durham said.
She also thanked the community for its ongoing support, RCMP, as well as Dayna Pollard and Hannah Fletcher who have been working “tirelessly” in the search efforts for Bell.
Bell was last seen on Saturday, Jan. 30 when she left her apartment in the 9300-block of Edward Street around 8:30 p.m. Her 2021 Hyundai Tucson that she was driving was found in the 47000-block of Ballam Road two days later on Monday, Feb. 1.
She is described as having bleached blonde hair and brown eyes, standing five-foot-two and weighing 95 pounds.
A local Realtor has stepped up and is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Bell.
RCMP ask anyone with information to call the police at 604-792-4611 or dial Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
There is also an online fundraiser to help with search efforts and to support Bell’s boys at gofundme.com/f/missing-mother-of-2-shaelene-bell.