Volunteers from the community of Nome will gather for a second weekend in a row in the multi-agency search for missing Nome woman, Florence Okpealuk.
Local authorities in Nome are looking for all of the help they can get which includes Alaska’s new Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s (MMIP) Coordinator, a new position created as part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Lady Justice.
“They basically transfer us to other federal agencies that can assist us right now.”– Nome City Manager, Glenn Steckman
The MMIP Coordinator for Alaska, Ingrid Cumberlidge, would not comment on this investigation.
While Manager Steckman hasn’t worked directly with Cumberlidge’s office, he says that it has already opened up more resources for Nome’s search.
“We are expecting some additional help from the FBI with people on the ground and possibly search dogs that we have requested.”– Glenn Steckman
Steckman explains that so far local efforts have included underwater drones in nearby ponds, local search dogs, and the Coast Guard helicopter along with Nome Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.
He says local authorities can’t say much regarding an open investigation.
“Every lead that the public has given to the Nome Police Department has been followed up. Leads are continuing to come in and that’s all that we can discuss.”– Glenn Steckman
Okpealuk’s family reported her missing on August 31st. The missing persons bulletin from the Alaska State Troopers says she was last seen coming out of tent on Nome’s West Beach approximately one to two miles outside of town. Her jacket and shoes were left outside the tent.
The Nome Police Department did not return KNOM’s calls for comment for this story. Volunteers interested in participating in the second community search should meet at the Nome Volunteer Fire Hall Saturday [September 12th] at noon.
Photo at Top: Police search for Florence Okpealuk of Nome. Photo from NPD, used with permission.