One year later and Paula Bali doesn’t know anything more about her daughter’s disappearance now, than the day she went missing.
“Devastating is an understatement. Your whole life falls apart,” said Bali.
“You know the character of your child … so you know when something really wrong has happened.”
Bali says the day Mekayla went missing started like any other: she dropped her then 16-year-old daughter off at school the morning of April 12, 2016 and went to work.
A timeline of Mekayla’s actions shows she left school shortly after arriving. She made brief stops in a pawn and bargain shop and a bank before walking to a nearby Tim Hortons. She returned to Sacred Heart High school around noon for a few minutes and then went to the STC bus terminal in Yorkton. Mekayla bought lunch at a restaurant there and was last seen leaving the bus depot around 1:45 p.m.
“Mekayla wasn’t using drugs. She didn’t party or go out. She had an extremely quiet life. So, for her to just go off the grid doesn’t make any sense … but when there is no information, you’re desperate for any information and we have followed up on a lot of info that is far-fetched,” explained Bali.
Police have followed up on numerous tips, some of which have led investigators to Vancouver’s downtown eastside, but nothing has ever been confirmed. Bali, who took an unpaid leave from work to search for her daughter full-time, said she is considering all scenarios including the possibility of Mekayla being forced into a human trafficking situation.
“I don’t believe she is dead. She is alive somewhere. I feel someone has control of her because she hasn’t used her cellphone or debit card…she has never been online. People don’t just vanish … something happens to them.”
As the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance arrives, Bali is asking anyone who has control of Mekayla or information on her whereabouts to come forward.
“This should be the year she graduates and that important event is not happening,” said Bali.
“I just want my daughter back. She deserves to continue with her life.”
The Bali family is offering a $25,000 reward for the safe return of Mekayla.