Posters seeking information about a woman who was last seen in Barrie dotted Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village starting on Jul 20.
A spokesperson for the Barrie Police Service says 33-year-old Alexandra Flanagan has been absent from work and has not contacted her friends or family since Jul 8.
Flanagan, who identifies as a lesbian, spent several years living and working in Toronto’s queer village, including at the House of Lords hair salon on Yonge St at Isabella.
According to Barrie Police, Flanagan was last seen in Barrie on the evening of Jul 8 walking toward her Wellington St apartment with a male friend. The friend told police he left her at Sunnidale Park, but that 30 minutes later when he tried to call her there was no answer. When she didn’t turn up for work the next morning, Flanagan’s family got worried.
Sheffer says Flanagan was wearing khaki capri pants, a black belt and a black tank top with pink flip-flops when she was last seen. She is five-feet, one-inch tall, weighs 100 pounds, has red hair and green eyes, and has piercings in both eyebrows.
Barrie Police say they received a report that Flanagan was spotted in the area of Shuter and Sherbourne Sts, but that they could not confirm the sighting.
“We’re going to get all kinds of information, everything from wishful onlookers who may provide information including possible sightings, all of which may or may not be legitimate,” says Det Sgt Mark Sheffer of the Barrie Police Service. “We’ve reached out to our partners in the Toronto Police Service to get some help in the area.”
Although Flanagan has previously broken contact with friends and family for short periods, she has never been gone for this long, police say.
“The urgency in this case is it’s unusual in recent times for her to not communicate her whereabouts,” Sheffer says. “There’s some instances in her past where this has occurred, but certainly not to this length.”
Sheffer also says that there has been no activity on Flanagan’s cell phone or bank account since her disappearance, but that police have no reason to suspect foul play.
“We continue to consider this a missing person case,” he says.
Alyssa Nesbitt, one of Flanagan’s friends, has organized search parties of Barrie’s Sunnidale Park and the adjoining wooded areas.
“I honestly just met her in the village in Toronto and became a good acquaintance,” says Nesbitt. “As soon as I saw the missing person poster when I walked into my workplace my heart just broke.”
Nesbitt says she’s worried that something may have happened to Flanagan, because it is uncharacteristic of her to run away.
“She’s not that kind of person,” she says. “She’s got two cats that are like her children. She wouldn’t leave them. It’s not like her to leave her mom. Best-case scenario is that she’s gone on a vacation. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
A Facebook group organized by her friends called Help Find Alexandra Flanagan has more than 1,400 members, and two other similar groups have almost 400 each. Each group is asking people to put up search posters and participate in searches.
Sheffer says that if Flanagan is in Toronto he wants her to know that her family and friends are worried about her.
“We’ve asked people who know her to say if they see her to call us, or let her know that her family’s looking for her, to call them and let them know that she’s fine,” he says. “Call home, call us, whoever she’s comfortable in calling. If she’s chosen a new life in the area, she’s welcome to do so. We just want to know that she’s fine.”