Homicide investigators have been called in to help resolve the Langley, B.C. disappearance of teacher Naomi Onotera, authorities said Wednesday.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team also confirmed that police have started searching Onotera’s home, which has been cordoned off since Monday.
“I would like to warn that the presence of officers, security and crime scene gangs is not an indication of the criminality of anyone living in the residence. They are there to ensure the preservation of evidence,” IHIT Sgt . David Lee said in a press release.
“IHIT would like to ask you to be patient as this investigation continues. The family has requested privacy as well.”
The IHIT said the members were assisting the Langley RCMP Major Crime Unit and the investigation was still in its early stages.
Forensic workers were seen at the family home this week, and neighbors told CTV News there was a canine unit at the scene on Monday.
Authorities previously said they did not suspect any foul play in Onotera’s disappearance.
The 40-year-old works as a teacher-librarian at Katzie Primary School in Surrey and has a 20-month-old daughter. Colleagues said her absence left school looking sad after classes resumed this month.
Police vehicles are seen outside Langley, B.C., the home of missing teacher Naomi Onotera, on September 15, 2021.
Police said Onotera’s husband last saw her leave the house on August 28 and her mother reported her missing the next day.
The missing woman’s sister, Kirsten Kerr, said her sudden disappearance was devastating for those close to her.
“We just want to see her come back safely. We all miss her a lot,” Kerr told CTV News last week.
Onotera’s husband has not spoken publicly. A neighbor who has spoken to him since the disappearance told CTV News the husband is upset and crying.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro
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