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With no sign that missing Nome woman left town, extensive searches continue

Florence Okpealuk was last seen on Aug. 30.
Florence Okpealuk was last seen on Aug. 30.(Alaska State Troopers)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 7:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – After 24 days of active searches and investigative work, Nome Police Chief Michael Heintzelman and Deputy Chief of Police, Robert Pruckner, have provided an update on their effort to locate missing 33-year-old Florence Okpealuk.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, law enforcement officials have conducted nearly 100 interviews with family, friends and other community members.

Investigators have also gathered surveillance footage from more than a dozen cameras, all located within several miles of Okpealuk’s last known location at Nome’s West Beach.

Recent travel records have do not indicated Okpealuk traveled outside of Nome.

On Wednesday, the Anchorage FBI Field Office’s public affairs officer, Chloe Martin said that FBI agents are no longer on the ground in Nome. However, the office is still assisting local agencies with the search.

“That doesn’t mean we have stopped looking for her, this is an open investigation ... It’s active, it’s ongoing," she said. "There’s a widely variable pace with investigations, given that law enforcement needs to methodically and thoroughly address every element of the case.”

Those federal agents are currently analyzing local cell service records and continuing to provide other technical support for the case.

According to Nome police, the Nome Volunteer Search and Rescue Team has carried out community ground searches and utilized drones to search nearby bodies of water. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard and Bering Air have participated in aerial searches.

The Nome Police Department’s primary channel for updating the community is through its Facebook page.

Anyone with relevant information is also encouraged to call NPD at (907) 443-5262. Callers have the option to remain anonymous.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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