Friends of Sladjana Petrovic, last seen in the downtown area on Boxing Day, joined Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green at a news conference Friday, where they made a public appeal in the hopes of locating the missing 60-year-old.
“We miss you. We’re concerned about you and your whole community is looking for you,” said Valerie Braden, a longtime friend of Petrovic who addressed media at the Multiplex.
Petrovic was reported missing on Dec. 27, prompting Yellowknife RCMP to open a missing persons investigation, which remains active.
In a pair of news releases issued by police on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, Mounties stated it was out of the ordinary for Petrovic, a downtown resident, not to visit certain businesses or connect with her small group of friends and acquaintances, a point echoed by Petrovic’s friends during Friday’s press conference.
“(Petrovic) has a routine she loves,” said Valerie Braden. “For her not to do that – it’s very unusual.”
Petrovic is Serbian by birth and has lived in the capital for some 20 years. She has no family in Yellowknife. Petrovic’s friends say she is quiet and keeps to herself.
Petrovic relies on medication. She participates in a Salvation Army Yellowknife-run program that ensures she’s taking her medication on time. Her failure to attend the Salvation Army, at least in part, led to her being reported missing to RCMP.
“She needs medication or she’ll be really, really sick,” Elizabeta Alaga told reporters.
Alaga said she couldn’t go into specifics on what Petrovic’s medication treated.
In an earlier interview with Lidija Trailovic, another longtime friend, said Petrovic had struggled with depression.
Alaga, a friend of Petrovic for some 20 years, took a moment to speak directly to her missing friend in Serbian, a language they both share.
“We love you Sladjana,” continued Alaga.
“I just want people to know Sladjana is a lovely and kind person, “ she said. “She has some friends in town who really care about her.”
“I pray we find her as soon as possible,” added Alaga.
Green, an acquaintance of Petrovic and a longtime women’s advocate, urged residents and friends of Petrovic to come forward with any information related to her whereabouts.
“Even if she’s doing fine, call and let us know that she is doing fine,” pleaded Green.
Green, Alaga and Braden all called on residents to keep an eye out for Petrovic, and to provide any information related to her whereabouts.
Sgt. Yannick Hamel of the Yellowknife RCMP, one of three RCMP members in an attendance alongside representatives from the Salvation Army, told reporters the ongoing search effort for Petrovic “has been a priority” for the force’s General Investigations Unit.
Hamel said police are looking to speak with anyone who may know Petrovic.
The last known sighting of Petrovic in downtown Yellowknife on Boxing Day occurred in the morning, said Hamel, a piece of information that hadn’t yet been released to the public.
Hamel said he couldn’t go into specifics about where in the downtown she was last seen.
Hamel said search and rescue resources have been mobilized for an “urban search.”
Tips from the public continue to come in, he said, adding some had been passed along to Yellowknife RCMP Friday.
Hamel did not answer when asked whether or not police believe Petrovic is still in Yellowknife.
Petrovic is described by police 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,” according to RCMP.
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.