K9 aid in search for Florence Okpealuk
After nearly a month and a half with no sign of 33-year-old Florence Okpealuk, a group of independent searchers turned to a new tactic. Over the weekend, from October 9 through 11, three search and rescue dogs assisted in the search.
The dogs were brought in through a private effort. Volunteers, including Okpealuk’s sister Alexandria Okpealuk and her friend Billi Jean Miller, raised $6,000 to fly in several dogs and their handlers from MAT-SAR K-9, a volunteer K9 rescue organization from the Mat-Su Valley. Half of this came from a $3,000 donation from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. According to a Facebook post of the Mat+SAR K9 page, several members of their team traveled to Nome to assist with the search for Florence Okpealuk. “We covered a lot of area, but unfortunately Florence remains missing,” the post says.”Thank you to MAT+SAR members Patty Howell / K9 Abbey, Lisa Jaeger / K9 Mak, Mark Stigar / K9 Lyra and Stacie Burkhardt / K9 Myka, Lisa McConarty, Dan Hunt, Susan Whiton, James Bruce, Chris Nall and Lindsay Cronin for traveling to Nome and working so hard work on this search.”
Okpealuk was last seen on Nome’s West Beach on August 30.
The Nome Police Department encourages anyone with information concerning Okpealuk’s disappearance to contact NPD at 907-443-5262. Callers may remain anonymous.