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Clothes of missing Tulita girl found
Sahtu bands together to find 17-year-old

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 6, 2012

Nicole Horassi was reported missing on June 28 and since then a search and rescue effort has grown up around the Hamlet of Tulita.

NNSL photo/graphic

Tulita's Nicole Horassi was reported missing on June 28. Searchers say police have confirmed Horassi's clothes were found on the beach along Bear River. - NNSL file photo

A RCMP press release states Horassi, 17, was last seen in Tulita on June 24 wearing blue jeans, a white tank top and grey ankle boots. However, Norman Yakeleya, co-ordinator for the Tulita-based search, said police have since confirmed Horassi's clothes were found on the beach along Bear River and searchers should now be looking for an orange bikini which Horassi was wearing under her jeans and tank top. Yakeleya said he couldn't say what Horassi had been doing when she went missing.

Donations to the cause have included hundreds of pounds of free freight, hundreds of pounds of food, thousands of dollars and days of manpower have been contributed by individuals and organizations from the Sahtu region, Yellowknife, Tsiigehtchic and beyond, Yakeleya said. A Facebook group dedicated to Horassi and co-ordinating search and rescue donations had swelled to more than 4,100 members as of last Thursday.

"The people here in Tulita and the Sahtu, we all come together as one strong family and we're looking for one of our children," Yakeleya said. "The Sahtu has really pulled together, people are saying."

Yakeleya said donations have also flooded in from around the region and from as far as Alberta and a retired couple from Idaho who have experience finding drown victims have volunteered their time, SONAR, and other equipment to the cause. Canadian Northern donated two airline tickets to fly them into the community, he said.

While the circumstances look grim, Yakeleya, along with many community members, remain hopeful that Horassi will be found and returned home soon.

"We're hoping each day that we find her, " he said.

Yakeleya said local elders have described the situation as a chance to talk to children about making safe and healthy life choices.

"The elders are saying, 'Talk to your children,'" he said. "'Talk to them about life and talk about the experience. What kind of lifestyle they're living; talk to them about that. As tragic as this is for us, it's also given us a lesson, to work together and live a good life."

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