VANCOUVER — Mounties heightened an alert on Wednesday and asked for the public’s help in finding two Alberta girls who could be in danger while travelling with their mother in British Columbia.
Alberta police issued a warning Monday about what was believed to be a parental abduction.
But British Columbia RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said an Amber Alert was issued after a “confirmed sighting” in Golden, B.C., about 265 kilometres west of Calgary.
“There’s a concern for the safety of the children, that’s why we’ve activated the Amber Alert here in B.C.,” he said.
“We’ve got mom’s description and the vehicle, so obviously we’re asking anyone to call RCMP if you see them.”
Police say the girls, Talisha Meisel, aged 12, and six-year-old Taya, vanished Monday after leaving their elementary school in Brandt, near Vulcan, Alta., south of Calgary.
It is believed the girls may have snuck out of school to join their mother, 48-year-old Trina Meisel, who is the non-custodial parent. Posts on social media have suggested the family may be travelling west to Vancouver Island, possibly Nanaimo or Ladysmith.
The Amber Alert said they are travelling in a black, 2007 Honda CR-V, with the Alberta vanity plate ORNRSE.
Vermeulen could not say when the sighting was made or provide further details. He referred questions to police in Alberta, who were not immediately available.
“The Amber Alert has been issued so everybody is on high alert, everybody is looking — police, public,” he said, adding Mounties in Golden were involved in the search. “We’re asking the public as well to keep an eye out. This is who we’re looking for. The descriptors are out.”
RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Herman in Ladysmith, on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, said his detachment was first advised the family could be headed west at Tuesday based on information posted on Facebook.
“I think it’s fair for me to say ’Yes, we are aware of the case’ and ’Yes,’ Ladysmith RCMP members have been actively alert and patrolling our detachment area with an active mind looking for that vehicle,” he said.
He said police in particular are conducting night checks of hotels as well as keeping an eye on video surveillance of places like 7/11 night stores.
“It’s on the forefront of their minds.”
An RCMP spokesman in Nanaimo said police they’re not currently involved in the matter.
When the girls first disappeared, police in Alberta said the children were not believed to be in imminent danger.
At the time, Const. Greg Hendry with the Vulcan RCMP said Amber Alerts are issued after meeting four criteria and one had not been met.
Talisha, whose nickname is “TJ,” is described as having long, blond wavy hair; when last seen in Alberta she was wearing a turquoise sweater, a grey striped T-shirt and blue jeans. She stands 5-feet tall and weighs 70 lbs.
Taya also has long, blond wavy hair that’s usually worn in pigtails or a braid, and was wearing prescription glasses. She has blue eyes, is 3-foot, 6-inches tall and weighs 50 lbs. She often wears pink clothing.
Their mother has blue eyes and blond, closely shaved hair with bangs. She is 5-6 in height. They are all Caucasian.