Despite the tireless efforts of more than 150 volunteers Tuesday, Brainerd police still do not know what happened to Erika Dalquist.
Rumors circulating Tuesday and this morning that Dalquist had been located somewhere in Crow Wing County are false, said Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc this morning.
He said rumors can cause damage to the investigation and the well-being of the family. He cautioned people to be wary of the source of information and he encouraged people with credible information to contact police.
"We have not found her or any evidence of her location," said Bolduc. "Those rumors are irresponsible and immature and the public needs to be mindful of where they're getting their information.
"We're losing patience with those people starting these rumors, and if someone is intentionally impeding the investigation (by starting them), they will be charged with a crime."
Pat Boone, Erika Dalquist's uncle who is the Dalquist family spokesman, this morning said he hasn't heard anything about his niece being found and he hoped people would not spread rumors without knowing the truth.
"The family will know before anyone, and as of right now, we haven't been told she was found," said Boone.
Brainerd police today continued to investigate the disappearance of Dalquist, a 21-year-old Brainerd woman who was last seen Oct. 30 in downtown Brainerd near Tropical Nites.
No clues concerning her disappearance were found in Tuesday's massive search, Bolduc said.
He said investigators continue to follow-up leads.
Lined up from river to bluff, a row of people clad in blaze orange crashed through trees, tall grass and mud Tuesday.
About 30 strong at the Mississippi River, some of the people rode on four-wheelers, some walked with search dogs, some pressed on foot with walking sticks. More than 120 searched in other areas of Brainerd.
However they were doing it, all of the people who'd assembled had the same goal -- to search for any signs of the missing young woman.
After five hours of searching under fallen trees and thickets, in water holes and in hollows, no sign of Dalquist or of anything belonging to her was found.
The volunteers answered the call of the Brainerd Police Department for a ground search and congregated at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds to get their assignments.
Some of the 155 volunteers, more than two dozen, searched the river bottom from the boat landing on the Mississippi River, near Evergreen Cemetery, to St. Joseph's Medical Center.
Pat Schultz, from Long Prairie, stomped in the cold through the woods with her search dog, Sasha. Though she didn't know Dalquist, Schultz wanted to help in any way she could.
Up to $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the recovery of Erika Dalquist, Brainerd police said.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact Brainerd police at (218) 829-2805.
A fund also has been set up at Security State Bank of Pillager for those wishing to make contributions.
"I still feel like I'm contributing something," said Schultz, steering her German shepherd from fallen trees to stands of brush with an encouraging, "Go to work, Sasha."
In the same group, Duane Biermaier, Cushing, made his way along the river bottom with several of his family members and co-workers. He's been a friend of the Dalquists for years and works with Erika Dalquist's father, Duane Dalquist, at Team Industries.
"It's unreal," said Biermaier, navigating his way through brush and logs. "You never think something like this is going to happen to someone you know."
Other groups of volunteers searched the swamps between the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway shops and 28th Street in east Brainerd, and the woods from 28th Street to the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center. Smaller areas, such as near the Mississippi River near East River Road and Boom Park, also were searched. Each volunteer was given instructions to mark anything suspicious with a red flag for investigators to look at later.
"Our goal for today was to eliminate areas that could contain evidence," said Bolduc early Tuesday afternoon. "We're covering a lot of ground. I'm thrilled with the turnout."
Also assisting in Tuesday's search from the air were DNR helicopters and Civil Air Patrol airplanes. With the volunteers on the ground were members of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department; the Brainerd, Nisswa and Pillager fire departments; the State Patrol; the Minnesota Army National Guard; Central Minnesota Search and Rescue and its search dogs; the Lakes Area Law Enforcement Committee; and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. On Monday, Brainerd police officers searched the dry stream bed behind Franklin Junior High School.
Bolduc today thanked the volunteers for their help; the Salvation Army, Connie's Kitchen, Subway and Mickey's Subs for providing food for the volunteers; Blakeman Enterprises for providing sanitary services at the fairgrounds; and Greatland Rental for providing heaters at the public safety building.
The massive ground and air search was an effort by the Brainerd Police Department to search for clues into Dalquist's disappearance -- clues that so far have been evasive.
Reported missing by her mother, Colleen Dalquist, on Nov. 1, there has been no indication of what might have happened to Dalquist. Nothing is missing from her apartment in northeast Brainerd, no money has been taken out of her checking account or other financial accounts, she hasn't called her family or friends and she hasn't shown up for her job at Meyer Associates.
Dalquist is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 135 pounds with brown, chin-length hair and blue eyes. She has a blue and green scroll tattooed on her lower back.
She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt with a zipper in the front. The sweatshirt may have had a hood.
The Brainerd Police Department is asking for the public's help in finding Dalquist. Anyone with information should call (218) 829-2805.
A Web site, http://www.erikasmissing.com/, has been set up featuring information and photographs of Dalquist, as well as a link for people who might have information to provide on her whereabouts.
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