Wife of missing soldier trying to stay optimistic

Family, friends and even complete strangers spent the weekend searching for a missing Edmonton soldier, picking up the search that police and military personnel called off late last week.

EDMONTON — Family, friends and even complete strangers spent the weekend searching for a missing Edmonton soldier, picking up the search that police and military personnel called off late last week.

Master Cpl. Richard Curnow disappeared last Thursday during a 10-kilometre training run through Edmonton’s river valley.

At its peak, the search team comprised upwards of 70 people — including soldiers from the Edmonton Garrison, police officers and Edmonton Fire Rescue members.

Curnow’s wife Justine MacKenzie-Curnow said she understands why the official search was called off, but vowed that family and friends would continue the effort.

She says she’s clinging to “every bit of optimism” she can hang onto.

Family and friends spent the weekend scouring trails throughout the river valley and distributing posters throughout the city.

Even strangers have picked up the cause.

“He’s got a wife and daughter, I have a wife and a couple of daughters,” said John Ward, who volunteered his time this weekend. “I’d want people looking for me. If I can help I will.”

MacKenzie-Curnow said she’s been inspired by the help the family has received, but not surprised.

“A lot of them are parents that know we have a three-year-old that are saying ’what can we do to bring your daughter’s father home?”’ MacKenzie-Curnow said. “It’s hard not to get emotional because it means so much.”

The family has also set up a Facebook page dedicated to spreading information about the search for Curnow, and are encouraging those interested in helping to spread the word through online social networks like Twitter.

Police have said they do not consider Curnow’s disappearance suspicious, and Mackenzie-Curnow says she doesn’t believe that her husband’s time in Afghanistan was behind the disappearance.

The couple had been separated.