RCMP search for missing Smithers woman Jennifer Derbyshire turns to the Okanagan

Police are investigating a reported sighting of Jennifer Derbyshire in Vernon at about 6 a.m. this morning.

Jennifer Derbyshire has been missing from Smithers since about 8 a.m. on April 13.

Police believe missing Smithers woman Jennifer Derbyshire is alone and could be in the Okanagan after an unconfirmed report she was in Vernon this morning.

The 41-year-old has been missing since April 13, when she dropped her children off at school in Smithers at about 8 a.m.

She was reported missing to Smithers RCMP at about 5 p.m. after she failed to contact family or friends and did not turn up to work at Pharmasave Smithers. Derbyshire also left her cellphone at home.

Police have confirmed Derbyshire was at a Walmart in Quesnel at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday. She appeared to be alone.

North District RCMP Cpl. Dave Tyreman said police were now trying to verify an unconfirmed sighting in Vernon at 6:40 a.m.

Cpl. Tyreman said officers were concerned for her wellbeing because her behaviour was very out of character.

Derbyshire had been campaigning to keep the Lake Kathlyn Elementary School open until the Bulkley Valley School District voted to close it on Tuesday night.

Cpl. Tyreman said it was not clear whether the school board decision played a role in her disappearance.

“We all know when somebody works hard towards something and it doesn’t come out favourable, it takes a toll on all of us,” he said.

Pharmasave Smithers front store manager Jeremy Verhelst said it had crossed his mind that Derbyshire may have been upset by the school board decision.

“Every time I talked to her we would always end up talking about that school and how she was so determined to keep it open,” said Verhelst.

He said her colleagues were missing her and hoped she would return soon.

Derbyshire is described as being about 170cm tall, of medium build with shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes.

She is believed to be driving the family’s 2005 navy blue Dodge Caravan with B.C. licence plate 418 KRH.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to contact Smithers RCMP on 250-847-3233 or call 911.