Search based on hand-drawn map yields no evidence of Tamra Keepness
Tamra Keepness is seen in this undated file photo.
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, November 7, 2014 6:22PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 7, 2014 8:38PM EST
REGINA -- Police say a search related to a hand-drawn map posted on a social media website has yielded no trace of a missing Saskatchewan girl.
Tamra Keepness was five when she disappeared from her family's Regina home in July 2004.
A map surfaced earlier this week on Reddit that claimed to show where her body was located and which carried the notation "check the wells." The map included an area of the Muscowpetung First Nation, north of Regina.
On Thursday, a team of Regina city police officers, Mounties and three of the girl's relatives searched 15 wells in the area that were indicated on the map, plus six more. A camera and special equipment were used to look down to the bottom of each well.
"There was no indication of anything connected to Tamra Keepness, no sign of Tamra Keepness and no sign of anything suggesting a connection to this case," Elizabeth Popowich, spokeswoman for Regina police, said Friday.
She said although some features on the map were correct, others were not, and investigators don't believe the map is authentic.
Officers are still trying to reach the person who posted the map online, who went by the user name "my secret is out." Popowich said the person's account has since been deactivated.
Some media reported that the user had replied to online comments suggesting the map was a joke. The person wrote that the map came from a deceased grandmother whose sister in Alberta got it from someone in prison.
Popowich said tips are always welcome but recommends calling police, not posting them in a public forum.
"It catapults the family back into the spotlight and I think that for them there must be emotional upheaval," she said.
"Because how could you not hope? And then at the end of the day to find that there wasn't anything that pointed to Tamra or got us any closer to knowing what's happened to her..."
Police have received close to 1,700 tips related to the case over the years and they are still trickling in, said Popowich. But officers don't tell Tamra's family about each and every one of them.
She said the full day of searching the wells was difficult for everyone, and even police were disappointed.
"Family members who have worked with us trust us to tell them if we think something looks promising. Or if there's some development in the case, of course we would tell them. But they don't need to know every time we get a tip, and they don't need to know every time we get a tip that leads to nothing."
One good thing was that the map raised awareness about the case again, said Popowich. She wants the public to know that police aren't giving up and will continue investigating all leads.
"In spite of the fact that this effort didn't turn up any evidence of Tamra, that doesn't deter us from the next time and the time after that.
"We'll continue to work on this case diligently until we know."