Mystery surrounding Sydney woman's disappearance deepens as search ramps up
There is still no sign of a missing Sydney woman after her burning vehicle was found in a wooded area near her home, and the people who made the discovery say they are surprised it took so long for police to act.
It's been more than a week since Nicholas Bonnell and Sarah MacKinnon found the vehicle off Cossitt Heights Drive while out for a ride on their ATV.
"It was just billowing black smoke and we stopped there because we didn't know if the car was going to actually explode, but then again, we had to check if there was anyone in it," says Bonnell.
At the time they didn't know who the car belonged to, but Cape Breton Regional Police have confirmed it belongs to 59-year-old Debbie Ann Hutchinson, who was last seen on April 14.
She was reported missing ten days later by her family, who told police they haven’t been able to contact her.
"I'm honestly worried for her because it's a strange happening, where we found it at 10:30 and she's been gone for so long. I don't understand how she's been gone on the 14th, we found the car on the 16th, and nothing has been said until now," says MacKinnon.
A notice from the SPCA on Hutchinson's front door says they seized her dog on April 24. Hutchinson's neighbours say they too are puzzled by her disappearance.
"Debbie has animals, a cat and a dog. I just don't understand her going and leaving them, because she loved them dearly, and every place she went the little dog was with her," says Hutchinson's neighbour, Sheila Bartlett.
Hutchinson is described as five feet tall, about 95 pounds, with brown eyes and greying hair.
Investigators were at Hutchinson's home Thursday, looking for anything that might point them in the direction of her whereabouts.
Members of Cape Breton Search and Rescue also continued to comb the wooded area where Hutchinson's car was found.
"We have another two search teams coming. Cheticamp is sending some searchers down, and Inverness is sending some searchers down. We want to get better coverage of the area," says Paul Vienneau of Cape Breton Search and Rescue.
Police say there's nothing specific to indicate foul play, but that the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are suspicious.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.