Quebec provincial police are increasing their efforts to find a 66-year-old woman who went missing while picking berries with her husband in a sparsely populated, heavily forested area northwest of Quebec City on Sunday.
Picking wild blueberries was something Denise Massicotte did with her husband, Réjean Bouchard, on an almost daily basis. It was something she still loved to do, he said.
“I got up and she was gone,” said Bouchard, who reported her missing at 5 p.m. Sunday.
“Alzheimer’s, that’s what it does. It’s fast. I walked. I went everywhere and I did not find her.”
Police say at her stage of Alzheimer’s she may not even react to her name being called.
On Tuesday, police brought in reinforcements to help search the rugged terrain near La Tuque, about 140 kilometres from the capital. The area, known as the Upper Mauricie region, is hilly and dense with trees.
Police are crisscrossing the land on foot, horse and all-terrain vehicles. A helicopter took to the air and a dog handler was on site.
Trained volunteers and local security officials are also scouring the forest for any sign of her.
“People who have properties in the area are asked to check for evidence of Ms. Massicotte or traces of her passage,” provincial police spokesperson Sgt. Hélène Nepton said.
Massicotte is just under five feet tall, weighs about 115 pounds and has reddish hair. She was wearing a green jacket, black pants and black shoes when she went missing.
Police are asking people to call 911 if they spot her. Massicotte also went missing in October 2018, according to Radio-Canada. That time, provincial police found her within a few hours.
Police are are urging well-intentioned people to not head off into the woods on their own with hopes of finding Massicotte because the remote area can be dangerous for untrained searchers.