Alberta RCMP are dealing with another possible sighting of missing Toronto teen Mariam Makhniashvili.
Officers got a call on Nov. 30 that a teen fitting Mariam's description was in Hinton, a mill town in the Rocky Mountains about three hours west of Edmonton, RCMP spokeswoman Doris Stapleton said.
Mounties responded to the call, but couldn't find anyone, and are careful to call it an "unsubstantiated" sighting.
"Our members weren't able to confirm that it was actually her," Ms. Stapleton said. She said the sighting was "on the streets of Hinton."
News of the tip became public yesterday and came in the wake of two other reported sightings of Ms. Makhniashvili in the province. The first came from Okotoks, where RCMP received a tip that she was selling dream catchers to local merchants. The second tip to be made public came from Grande Prairie, where RCMP received an anonymous call from a payphone at a car dealership saying Ms. Makhniashvili was nearby. They responded, but couldn't find anyone.
The three communities are spread out, each at least a three hour drive from either of the other two. The sightings, though made public within a week of each other, are also spread out - the Okotoks tip came on Oct. 27, the Hinton tip on Nov. 30, and the Grande Prairie tip on Dec. 2. Toronto police, who are handling the missing teen investigation, said the tips are all uncorroborated and are being investigated by the RCMP.
"People had become aware of her investigation [in Alberta] so they're now seeing her face and sharing their story, and it's bringing them back to, 'hey, maybe I did see her,' " said Constable Wendy Drummond, a Toronto police spokeswoman. "The follow-up investigation has not yet proven fruitful that the sightings were, in fact, Mariam."
Toronto has received about 200 anonymous tips in the case, and is following up on all of them, Constable Drummond said, adding she isn't aware of Toronto officers receiving reports of sightings in any provinces other than Ontario and Alberta.
Ms. Makhniashvili went missing on Sept. 14.