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20 days later: Search still on for missing Dawson Creek teen

Trackers from Saulteau First Nations joining the search
Poole's family
Alisha Poole, Denny's sister attaches a poster asking anyone with information on Denny's disappearance to come forward.

It's been 20 days since Dawson Creek teen Denny Poole, a member of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation, went missing and investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to the boy.

The family says a group of trackers from Saulteau First Nations, lead by a relative, are now working with police as the search enters its third week.

They hope to soon join police in searching the area around the Kiskatinaw Bridge where Poole was last seen.

There have been no citizen-lead search parties for Poole, as of yet.

"We are being very careful not to go in on our own or send any unauthorized search parties in," Sharla Bruun, a spokesperson for the family told the Dawson Creek Mirror. "We don't want to taint any evidence that would be there."

April 5 will be Denny's 15th birthday, she said. The family plans to celebrate it by releasing balloons at the bridge.

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"Although we're not seeing any results, we still are thankful for what the RCMP are doing," Bruun added. "They're doing the best they can."

RCMP have been using a helicopter mounted with an infrared detector in the search.

Cpl. Dave Tyreman of the North District RCMP said he hasn't received any further updates on the investigation.

Poole was last seen on March 12 by a friend, whose name is not being released to the public.

The family says they believe the two were on their way to Fort St. John to meet a girl when they somehow got split up.

Police say the two boys wandered onto a back road along the Alaska Highway in an attempt to find a short cut.

Poole's friend phoned 911 at 7:52 p.m. to report what police are calling a "disturbance" on the highway.

The friend then handed the phone to a man with a "South Asian accent," who said there was no disturbance and that he had stopped to help the young man who was "acting strange," police say.

RCMP have since made contact with this man — who they do not consider a suspect in the case.

"My understanding is these two were wandering for quite some time prior to us receiving the 911 call from his friend," Tyreman said. "The question is, what were they doing before this? That's what we're trying to determine."

Anyone travelling on the back roads or on the highway at the time is asked to contact Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700.

In the meantime, the family is hoping for the best.

"The public is really supporting the family," Bruun said. "They're taking them food and we really appreciate that because right now, they don't feel much like cooking. They're pretty focused on where he is, what he is doing and getting him home."

dcreporter@dcdn.ca