Sixty-year-old Sladjana Petrovic has been missing for more than a week.
A small group of Yellowknifers are doing everything they can to find their “quiet and gentle” friend.
Valerie Braden, a longtime resident who befriended Serbian-speaking Petrovic in 2006 after teaching her English as a second language, has been busy “blanketing” the city with posters of Petrovic in the hopes someone will recognize her — that someone will know something.
“There’s nothing to go on right now. That’s the troubling part,” Valerie told Yellowknifer in an interview Thursday.
Petrovic was last seen in downtown Yellowknife on Boxing Day.
She was reported missing the following day, Dec. 27, prompting Yellowknife RCMP to launch a missing person investigation.
Police issued two public appeals for information related to Petrovic’s whereabouts between Dec. 30 and Dec. 31.
Mounties stated it’s unusual for Petrovic, a downtown resident, not to make contact with acquaintances or visit locations she frequents regularly.
The investigation remains open and police are actively seeking any information or leads related to Petrovic’s disappearance.
Carmen Braden, Valerie’s daughter and another friend of Petrovic’s, has been printing the missing person posters at her home.
She’s plastering them on telephone polls, bulletin boards; across the downtown, throughout Old Town.
“We’ve put them up everywhere we could think of,” said Carmen.
She estimates about 100 posters have been put up around town so far.
“It’s my family and a couple other people who have started to put these posters out,” said Carmen.
“It’s hard to say what else we can do.”
Petrovic, Carmen said, has a small, close circle of friends, which has created challenges in the ongoing search effort.
“It’s a bad situation because there aren’t a lot of people who know her very well, so it’s taken more time to get the word out.”
Carmen said the point of the poster campaign is to “get her face more visible for people who are in different parts of the city, or who remember seeing her in the days since she’s been missing.”
Valerie Braden said she, Carmen and others close to Petrovic have been working with Yellowknife RCMP to get as much information out to the public as possible.
“(RCMP) have been taking our suggestions, giving us information,” said Valerie.
Valerie said RCMP officers searched for Petrovic along the Frame Lake Trail, and visited areas she’s known to frequent.
Despite the ongoing efforts, there’s been no sign of the 60-year-old.
Yellowknife resident Lidija Trailovic, a longtime friend of Petrovic who is also from Serbia says she’s “hoping for the best,” as the days drag on.
“I just don’t know what to think,” said Trailovic.
Trailovic’s routine communication with Petrovic stopped after Christmas Day, when she could no longer get a hold of her of friend.
Trailovic said Petrovic struggled with depression when she first came to Yellowknife.
Sometime between 2010 and 2011, Petrovic returned to Serbia without telling anyone. When she returned, Trailovic said she was put on the right medication, and was doing fine for years.
Trailovic said Petrovic was trying to support family members back home.
Trailovic said Petrovic’s disappearance is unusual — she would meet with Valerie Braden for coffee every week.
Last week, that didn’t happen.
“Usually, she’s the first one there,” said Trailovic.
Trailovic describes her missing friend as “nice, gentle and smart.”
“She’s a very nice person, I can say.”
Through her contact with the Braden’s, Trailovic said she understands Yellowknife RCMP checked airlines following Petrovic’s disappearance, concluding she hadn’t left the capital by plane.
On Friday, Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green announced a news conference to highlight the disappearance of Petrovic.
It will be held at the Yellowknife Multiplex at 1 p.m.
Police describe Petrovic as “Caucasian, 5’7” / 170 cm, 257 lbs / 117 kg, heavy build, shoulder length ‘salt and pepper’ brown hair and blue eyes.”
A clothing description is not available at this time, say police, but Petrovic may have been wearing a blue jacket and running shoes. She may also be wearing an over-the-shoulder “satchel style purse.”
The investigation continues and police are seeking any information or leads from the public.
Anyone with information related to the whereabouts of Sladjana Petrovic is asked to contact either Yellowknife RCMP at 867-669-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, nwtnutips.com, (click on “submit a web tip”) or text: nwtnutips to 274637.
Updates to follow.