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A picture of Mariam Makhniashvili released Nov. 9, 2009. The teen went missing in September. (police handout)
A picture of Mariam Makhniashvili released Nov. 9, 2009. The teen went missing in September. (police handout)

Toronto Police dealing with another reported sighting of missing teen Add to ...

Toronto Police are dealing with another unconfirmed Alberta sighting of missing teen Mariam Makhniashvili.

RCMP in Grande Prairie, about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, received "an unconfirmed and uncorroborated tip" on Wednesday evening that Ms. Makhniashvili had been seen in a hotel in an area of the community known as the bypass. When police arrived to investigate the tip, there was no one to be found. RCMP issued a statement Friday about the sighting at the request of Toronto police, they said.

Mike Hoban, an employee of the Stonebridge Hotel in Grande Prairie, said RCMP searched a car dealership, Ken Sargent Pontiac Buick GMC, next door to the hotel and said the call had come from a payphone on the dealership site.

"They went and they checked and couldn't find anything," said Mr. Hoban, who was working at the hotel on Wednesday evening when police arrived.

The unconfirmed and uncorroborated sighting of Ms. Makhniashvili came the same day that RCMP in Okotoks, near Calgary and 800 kilometres south of Grande Prairie, issued a news release saying Ms. Makhniashvili had been spotted in that town on or about Oct. 27. The Okotoks statement was based on a tip received through Crime Stoppers, and RCMP believed "she may still be in the Greater Calgary Area" trying to sell dream catchers and other crafts.

The statement by Okotoks RCMP caught Toronto police, who are handling the investigation into Ms. Makhniashvili's disappearance, by surprise. Toronto police played down the apparent Okotoks sighting, saying it was one of many tips they'd received in the case.

Ms. Makhniashvili was last seen on Sept. 14 when she walked to her Toronto school with her brother. Toronto police have since carried out a massive canvassing campaign in an effort to track the teen down, a search that has provided little more than her backpack as a clue.

Ms. Makhniashvili, whose 18th birthday was in October, came to Canada with her family three months before her disappearance from the Republic of Georgia.

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