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Friends, family gather for strength as search for missing Port Alberni woman continues

RCMP, volunteer search and rescue squads continue to search for Amber Manthorne
Friends of Amber Manthorne gather outside of Tseshaht Market on Sunday, July 10. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Friends and family of missing Port Alberni woman Amber Manthorne are pleading for any information on her whereabouts.

Manthorne was reported missing to the RCMP after she had not been seen or heard from by friends and family since Thursday, July 7. RCMP put out a public request for people to watch out for Manthorne or her vehicle, a white 2021 Jeep Compass with BC licence plates.

Manthorne’s vehicle was located south of Nanaimo on July 9, Port Alberni RCMP Const. Rick Johns said, but Manthorne was not with her vehicle. “We are still looking for Amber, we are still following the evidence, and tips that we receive from the public,” Johns said.

“Investigators have been working around the clock to find her.”

Officers have secured Manthorne’s residence and her vehicle, and are asking the public to keep an eye out for Manthorne. She is 40 years old, just over five feet tall and slim with blond hair and blue eyes. She may be with a male known to her.

The RCMP declined to name the male, but friends and family have stated that she may be with her ex-boyfriend, Justin Hall.

Friends and acquaintances held a gathering at Tseshaht Market on Pacific Rim Highway on Sunday, July 10. An organizer, Kristie St. Claire, said the goal of the gathering was to talk about Manthorne and share any information about her. Fond memories and some tears were shared on Sunday evening.

There have been “armies” of people searching the backroads in the Alberni Valley for any sign of Manthorne, said St. Claire. Volunteer search and rescue teams from Cowichan, Ladysmith and elsewhere have been searching for any sign of Manthorne around the area where her car was found, south of Nanaimo. Trackers were brought in over the weekend and more are attending the area as of Monday, July 11.

“People don’t know what to do,” she added. “They’re frozen, they’re paralyzed with stress and fear and trauma, or they’re angry. We love her and we’re not giving up.”

Representatives from both Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nation attended the gathering on Sunday evening. Tseshaht drummers performed a prayer song for Manthorne and offered their assistance and support in the search for her.

Ken Watts, elected Chief Councillor for Tseshaht First Nation, said Manthorne, who lived in the area, was a frequent customer at Tseshaht Market.

“She had a deep connection to this store, this staff loved seeing her,” said Watts. “We’re staying positive that we’ll get to see her again, laughing and smiling.”

A Facebook group called “Finding amber” was created on Sunday, with the goal of sharing information about the search for Manthorne. As of Monday morning, the group had almost 3,000 members.

Anyone with information on Manthorne’s whereabouts is asked to call Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.

“She has so many friends that love and care about her,” said St. Claire. “She’s an auntie and a sister and a daughter. She’s very missed, and this is completely not like her to do this. Everyone’s very worried about her.”

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Friends of Amber Manthorne gather outside of Tseshaht Market on Sunday, July 10. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to locate Amber Manthorne, who is missing from the Alberni Valley. Her vehicle was located Saturday, July 9 south of Nanaimo, but Manthorne is still missing (PHOTO COURTESY RCMP)

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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