Youth who are looking for a way to become involved in the search for Amber Manthorne have been painting rocks pink with ‘Finding Amber’ on the front and the tips line (phone 250-730-1544) written on the back. Manthorne has not been seen since July 7, 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Youth who are looking for a way to become involved in the search for Amber Manthorne have been painting rocks pink with ‘Finding Amber’ on the front and the tips line (phone 250-730-1544) written on the back. Manthorne has not been seen since July 7, 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

QUINN’S QUIPS: Hope is solid that Amber Manthorne will come back

‘Amber’s Army’ finds a way for kids to show their support for search

Walking across the hot pavement of the parking lot beside Tseshaht Market toward the covered picnic tables, blotches of bright pink quickly come into focus. They are rocks, painted in various tones of pink, with “Finding Amber” in black on the front. Some of them have a tip line written on the bottom of the rock.

The tables have become a home base for the search for Port Alberni’s Amber Manthorne, who hasn’t been seen since July 7. Several large searches have taken place between Port Alberni and south Nanaimo, where her vehicle was found backed into some brush on the side of a logging road two days after she had last been seen.

READ: Large-scale public searches for missing Port Alberni woman wrap up

Hundreds of people have participated in those searches, and they call themselves “Amber’s Army.” Most of the searchers have been adults—those with experience in these kinds of searches, and many, many more who are friends, family or acquaintances of Manthorne. Some of the people wanting to reach out and do something have been children.

That’s where the rocks come in.

Some of the searchers that came to Tseshaht Market had young ones who wanted to participate, but it wasn’t practical, said spokesperson Kristie St. Claire. A friend of Manthorne’s from school with a background in advocacy, St. Claire has helped set up the public search bases and searches, and has been available to talk to the media to give the family privacy.

“The kids painted rocks with ‘Finding Amber’ on them,” she said. It was a tangible way to involve them in the search.

“For people who feel like they can’t come out and search…anything people can do to reassure themselves they’re doing something,” St. Claire said.

Even if that means painting rocks to remind people that Amber still hasn’t been found.

•••

Have you searched certain backcountry areas looking for Amber? You can log your search area by email to findingambermanthorne@outlook.com or by contacting any of the administrators of the Finding Amber Manthorne Facebook page. Self-help areas have been set up at the Tseshaht Market and near the gravel pit in Nanaimo, with maps and contact info for people who still want to go out and search, even if the large-scale searches are finished for now.

Do you have a tip about the search for Amber Manthorne? Call the tip line at 250-730-1544, or the RCMP (Port Alberni detachment is 250-723-2424).

Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.

Alberni ValleyMissing womanPort Alberni

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