Annual Edmonton river sweep includes search for missing woman

Edmonton police officers and other emergency responders are conducting their annual sweep Wednesday of the North Saskatchewan River and surrounding river valley.

The sweep is done annually in the fall when the river level is low, to recover any human remains that may have entered the river and surrounding areas over the past year.

Members of the Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, City of Edmonton park rangers and local search and rescue organizations are taking part in the sweep. Drones will also be used in the search.

“The North Saskatchewan is a major river that flows through many communities, and unfortunately, that does mean that human remains are recovered from the river and its environs each year,” said Sgt. Rebecca Wright, with the EPS missing persons unit.

“This annual sweep gives us a chance to do a thorough search of the river and its valley before winter sets in, and potentially resolve some of our outstanding missing persons files and bring resolution to families.”

This year, the EPS is using the search to raise awareness of missing person Jeannine Ermineskin. The 38-year-old was last seen on Jan. 6, 2022, wearing a black jacket, black pants and a red and white scarf. She is known to frequent the downtown core, police said.

“While we never want to rule out any outcomes, we do have to consider the possibility that a missing person may be deceased,” Wright said.

“Unfortunately, searching for remains is one of the investigative tasks we have to complete.”

Police service dog Jolly, the police service’s second-ever human remains detection dog, is also participating in the search.

“PSD Jolly is an invaluable addition to our canine unit,” said Const. Dennis Dalziel, and EPS canine detection trainer.

“Her specialized training differs from that of our other police canines, including her ability to detect human remains even underwater.”

Anyone with information on Ermineskin’s disappearance can contact Edmonton police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

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