Chelsea Cardno was out doing what she loved — walking her pup, JJ — when she went missing on Tuesday.
The Kelowna woman was last seen around 8 am, when she left her Rutland home to walk the nine-month-old German Shepherd along the Mission Greenway.
“It was part of her regular routine to walk her puppy before she went to work,” said Cardno’s cousin, Tanya Rudolph.
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Rudolph spoke with Global News on behalf of the family.
“We haven’t found a single trace of her. So, you know, it really still hasn’t become real until you find some piece of one of them,” Rudolph said.
“It’s so surreal, really. I mean, we’re all just holding out hope that she’s still somewhere out there.”
While no one knows for certain what happened to the 31-year-old woman, it’s believed she may have been swept away by the fast-moving waters of Mission Creek.
“The creek was running at 96.2 cubic meters per second,” Duane Tresnich, Manager of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR), said on Thursday.
“People in the area were reporting hearing trees falling into the river and the banks were falling away.”
COSAR and the RCMP launched a search on Tuesday afternoon, but, after two days of intense searching from the ground and the air, the operation was temporarily called off on Thursday and Friday.
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That’s because water and weather conditions deemed it unsafe for searchers, something the family understands.
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“You feel helpless. You don’t want to ask people to come out and help search, either because you don’t want them to end up in the same scenario,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph said it’s perplexing how nothing has been found anywhere.
“Not a leash, not a hat. Nothing,” Rudolph said. “Nothing has been found.”
Cardno was wearing a bright red jacket and a greyish ballcap at the time of her disappearance.
Rudolph is pleading for the public to keep their eyes open for any clues regarding Cardno’s whereabouts.
“Keep your eyes peeled at all times. And if you find something, report it to the RCMP,” she said. “Any article of clothing, the leash, the dog.”
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She described her younger cousin as bubbly and always smiling, someone who just recently finished training to become a rehab assistant.
“She’s up for anything,” Rudolph said. She’s beautiful and smart. She’s got it all going for her.”
COSAR and the RCMP plan to summarize the official search for Cardno on Saturday.
The family has now created a Facebook Page for anyone wanting to stay connected or wanting to help with the search.
“We don’t want anybody to go anywhere near the water to get into danger or anything like that, because our family would just be devastated if something happened to somebody else’s family while trying to help ours,” she said.
Rudolph added Cardno’s family is grateful for the support they’ve received from COSAR, the RCMP and the public.
“Our family just wants to say a big thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and willingness to come out and help,” she said. “And if you do come out and help, please, please just be safe.”
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