ANCHORAGE - With all of the new falling snow, police said, the search for Mary Ann Alexie will only become more difficult.
Two months ago was the last time anyone saw Alexie, who came to Anchorage from the Yukon to attend school at Anchorage Career Academy.
“She was a daughter, a sister and a mother,” Carole Bender said to a group of 20 strangers who have joined together to help find the missing woman police say went missing in the Spenard area.
The effort began a week ago. Bender created a Facebook page to try and find answers for a woman that she had never met.
“Mary Ann was a very happy spirited person, who laughed a lot, and was always smiling, and always making jokes and she was a very great mother.” That is according to Bender, who heard that from Alexie’s cousin, her closest relative to Anchorage.
Alexie’s cousin and Bender only met on Monday. At a prayer meeting, held Tuesday, the two embraced in a hug, sharing tears and trying to raise awareness.
“In the village if someone goes missing or someone needs help, whether or not you like that family you step up and you help,” said Bender, who came to Anchorage 12 years ago from Northwest Alaska. She reflects on a time when her father’s boat was sinking and his enemy came to his rescue. “If this was the village, she would have been found.”
Tuesday, Alaskans gathered at the Alaska Native Hospital, trying to stay hopeful. They danced and asked God to lead them to Alexie.
The room echoed with the sounds of drums, singing and small chatter about Alexie’s good-heartedness. A small jar with a picture of Alexie on it circulated around the room, and dollar-by-dollar it began to fill.
Bender said she just couldn’t let the 33-year-old mother stay lost.
And she is not alone.
“At the end of the day I want her to come home,” said Sarah Niksik. “I don’t know who she is, I never met her, but I want her to come home. At the end of the day I just want to be a good person.”
For the first meeting, only Niksik showed up. Together, her and Bender became discouraged, but now they’re beginning to see a light. The Facebook page turned into over 20 people praying for answers.
“How would you feel if your mother was gone? And you had no answers. And Christmas is coming.” Bender takes a breath and wipes a tear from her eye before continuing. “And Thanksgiving has passed and Halloween has passed. Would you want people to stop looking? I wouldn’t.”
With each flyer they hand out and new friend they make, they hope they are closer to answers for the woman who went missing in Spenard.
“I go to sleep every night hoping, you know.” Niksik puts her hands together and takes a deep breath. “I have eaten today, I hope she's eaten. I have a warm place to sleep I hope she has a warm place to sleep. We just want her to come back.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Anchorage police at (907)-786-8900.