Family members of missing Red Deer County woman Roze Burk

The stress of not knowing

It is most unusual for Roze Burk to go out in the evening on her own. The 68-year-old woman — last seen on Thursday evening at the Deer Park Co-op in Red Deer — is a homebody. She loves her cats and dogs, especially her beloved West Highland terrier named Jewel, given to her by family a few years ago.

It is most unusual for Roze Burk to go out in the evening on her own.

The 68-year-old woman — last seen on Thursday evening at the Deer Park Co-op in Red Deer — is a homebody. She loves her cats and dogs, especially her beloved West Highland terrier named Jewel, given to her by family a few years ago.

Roze, who still lives on the family farm about eight km east of Red Deer, is described by daughter-in-law Tamara Burk as “very outgoing” and “chatty.”

Tamara said on Tuesday morning that with the help of family, friends and people who don’t even know Roze, they have been crisscrossing Central Alberta, visiting communities like Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Sundre and Spruce View, putting up posters, looking for Roze’s vehicle.

Her bank account hasn’t been used since she went missing.

Tamara, married to Roze’s son Wayd, and their infant daughter live in their own home in the same farm yard as Roze.

As of Tuesday morning, there have been few clues.

At 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, they received a call that Roze might have been seen at a certain street address in Sylvan Lake.

“My husband took off out there and met the cops. … They hunted all over, but nothing. So then we headed back out to Sylvan in the morning (friends, family and neighbours), did Innisfail all the way to Rimbey, Lacombe, Bentley. So it was kind of a scan of everything.”

That has been their strongest tip so far. What the family and Blackfalds RCMP knew as of Tuesday is that Roze’s last known location was the Co-op grocery store on Red Deer’s east side.

Thursday was a normal afternoon for the Burks, a rural family. Son Wayd farms the homestead and the other son, Darren, lives a bit further east. Roze’s husband, Jim, and the couple’s oldest son, Trevor, passed away, separately, 10 years ago.

On Thursday, Darren and his wife were visiting Roze in her home. They left between 6:30 and 7 p.m.

At the same time, Tamara’s mother was visiting her daughter and family in their home in the same yard. When she left to go home, also in the early evening, Tamara said her mother noticed Roze’s grey Ford Escape SUV was not in the driveway.

When they also didn’t see Roze’s vehicle that evening, “We didn’t really think too much of it. We thought that maybe she was parked in the garage,” said Tamara.

“We can look at (Roze’s) house all day from our house.”

“We always watch for her little dog to get let outside. … we didn’t see (Jewel)” on Friday morning.

“The outside dogs hadn’t been let go, because they get tied up at night, and then Wayd went over to see if she was OK and she wasn’t home. Her bed was still made and the TV was on.”

The couple had to take their infant daughter for a checkup in Red Deer so they left home about 10:15 a.m. on Friday. On their way home, Tamara phoned Roze’s home to see if she had returned. There was no answer. Roze does not have a cellphone.

They called Darren (who lives about two km southeast of them) to see if Roze had said anything about going anywhere.

She hadn’t, so Wayd and Tamara began to drive to the spots in Red Deer where Roze would generally go, such as her dog groomer, pet stores and then the Deer Park Co-op where Roze does all her shopping for groceries and gas. There was no sign of her.

They went straight home and called Blackfalds RCMP, who arrived within a half hour to check out Roze’s home.

The couple would learn, through security surveillance and the fact Roze had run into one of Wayd’s friends, that she was last seen at the Co-op between 7:44 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. on Thursday.

“All the ladies there know her,” Tamara said.

Roze had run into Wayd’s best friend in the Co-op and they visited while she waited for some food she had ordered from the deli.

The friend didn’t notice anything unusual but hadn’t seen her in a long time and did mention that she was moving slower. “But she’s got arthritis and that’s nothing strange,” Tamara said.

Roze said she was in a hurry to get home because her dog was in her SUV. She takes Jewel everywhere with her.

The family does wonder if something might have happened in the parking lot. It is a busy location with constant traffic but no one has reported seeing anything.

“She generally doesn’t travel at night,” said Tamara.

There have been no other incidents of Roze going missing or getting lost.

“Not like this,” said Tamara. “She had been forgetting when things are scheduled to happen and things that she should know about farming … things that she’s done for years.”

Tamara, who used to work with seniors, said the family had an idea that things were changing for Roze, but her mother-in-law has not been to a doctor for a long time.

Roze’s doctor retired and she doesn’t have a family doctor anymore. She cannot walk very far because of the arthritis. Tamara has been trying to find her a new family doctor. “It’s almost impossible in Red Deer,” she said.

“She’s very stubborn. We know (her health) is declining.” Roze watches a lot of TV, Tamara said. “She’s a homebody.”

She describes Roze as a hard worker. She and her husband Jim used to own companies in Red Deer — construction, excavating, plumbing — and they farmed.

If Roze was going anywhere, she would always let someone know, Tamara said.

RCMP said on Tuesday that Roze does have family in Manitoba and there is a possibility she may be headed that way. However, there have been no reports of anyone seeing her anywhere since Thursday.

On Monday, they dropped posters off at the Deer Park Co-op.

Police were given a list of people Roze might visit but she does not travel a lot by herself.

More posters were going to be put up on Tuesday. So far, they’ve been taken to a number of Central Alberta communities such as Innisfail, Sundre, Caroline, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe.

“We’re just trying to stay positive, just waiting for someone to call in saying that they’ve seen her vehicle, or anything, at this point,” said Tamara. Her husband is “stressed and I think overwhelmed with everything.”

They have been receiving a lot of calls and emails from people asking what they can do.

“We’re just asking people to keep your eyes open for her vehicle and licence plate. That’s all we ask.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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