Custom-wrapped trucks and trailers could help solve 6-year-old missing persons case
June 2, 2022
A collaboration between the Washington State Patrol and Royal Canadian Mounted Police is working to end a 6-year-old case of a missing woman.
On May 25, the two agencies in partnership with Blaine, Wash.-based Kam-Way Transportation, unveiled two newly wrapped Homeward Bound Project trucks and trailers. The new trucks feature Mekayla Bali, who went missing in July of 2016. The effort hopes to generate new leads in the case.
“Mekayla was just 16 when she was last seen in Yorkton, Saskatchewan,” Cpl. Robert Head of the Saskatchewan RCMP major crimes unit said in a news release. “Approximately 800 tips from all over the world have been reported to police in relation to our investigation into Mekayla’s disappearance, including tips and information reported from here in Washington. Mekayla has not been found and is still considered missing.”
The Homeward Bound Project, started by the Washington State Patrol in 2005, wraps semitrailers with age-advanced photos of missing persons. The trailers act as rolling billboards, in hopes of generating leads to help find missing children.
“The WSP and the RCMP are hopeful these giant rolling billboards will provide us with fresh leads and possible recovery,” the WSP press release read. “We never give up.”
Cst. Brendan Sanford, missing person coordinator with the Saskatchewan RCMP, says the wrapped trailers could have a big impact to the ongoing investigation.
“Standing next to Kam-Way Transportation’s trailer, and seeing Makayla’s photo on the side, and knowing her image and information about her disappearance will travel through state and country is very impactful,” Sanford said at the unveiling. “It’s an opportunity for not only Makayla to be recognized, but may generate invaluable information about her disappearance to assist in our ongoing police investigation.”
To date, the program has featured 32 missing children and youth. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1 in 6 children are recovered due to the public viewing of a photo. Head, who is the lead investigator on the Bali case, says the increased awareness could help to generate new information.
“One goal of investigators is to try and keep a missing person’s name in news reports and in the public eye in the hopes that someone with information will see it and report that to police. All information is important,” he said.
A reward of $100,000 Canadian dollars is being offered for Bali’s safe return. Anyone with information of her whereabouts are encouraged to call 800-THE-LOST. Video from the unveiling of the two new trucks can be seen below. LL