As the province marks Missing Persons Week, a Saskatchewan mom says she’s not giving up hope of seeing her daughter again.
Paula Bali was in Saskatoon Friday to deliver a speech at Child Find Saskatchewan’s annual prayer breakfast fundraiser.
Bali’s daughter Mekayla went missing from Yorkton in April 2016.
“There’s never a break. I literally spend eight to 12 hours every single day working on Mekayla’s case,” Bali said.
— Bryn Levy (@BrynLevy) May 4, 2018
Along with the ongoing effort to try and track down Mekayla, Bali said she helps with events promoting child safety and fundraising for groups like Child Find.
“You need to do something positive out of something this tragic, and for us, promoting children’s safety is so important in our community. I never ever want another parent to lose a child like this,” she said.
Even as she struggles to process her own grief, Bali said she worries about the impact her daughter’s disappearance has had on her other two children, now 11 and nine years old.
“How do you cope with an empty place at your table? I think each family has to do what they can do. For us, we don’t do holidays anymore. It’s too painful of a reminder for them.”
With Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan and Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper both in the audience, Bali used part of her speech to call for more resources to be devoted to finding missing people.
“We really need to, I think, restructure and re-organize how we look for missing children, “she said.
Specifically, Bali said she’d like to see Canadian authorities look to how the U.S. handles cases of missing kids.
“It’s more like a task force,” Bali explained. “There are members of the military, there are members of search-and-rescue, there are police, there are people who can help the family, there’s legal representation. They all come around and they take a bit of a different approach and it’s a bit more of a concentrated search.”
Bali said she’ll be returning to work at the beginning of June after being on extended leave. While she’ll have less time to devote to searching for Mekayla, she said she’s not going to quit.
“I believe we’ll find Mekayla. I really do, I’m quite positive. I don’t know why, but just in my heart.”