Missing Saskatoon mom, son found safe in U.S.
A missing Saskatoon woman and her seven-year-old son have been found safe, according to police.
Dawn Walker, 48, and her son were reported missing July 24. Her truck and some belongings were found the next morning at Chief Whitecap Park.
Following the discovery, police and volunteers combed the park and the adjacent South Saskatchewan River for any sign of Walker or her son.
In a news release, Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said Walker and the boy were located in Oregon City, Oregon around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
"Both are reported to be safe and well," SPS said.
"Agency representatives are currently working out the details of arranging for their return to Canada."
Walker was located with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, SPS said.
U.S. CHARGES POSSIBLE
According to police, the pair had illegally entered the U.S. and in addition to DHS, numerous agencies and Oregon police assisted in the investigation.
"U.S. authorities are considering the implications and any potential action as a result of an illegal entry into the U.S.," SPS said.
"Dawn Walker will be returned to Saskatoon to meet with investigators. U.S. agency representatives in consultation with the SPS are currently working out the details of returning (her son) to a legal guardian," the news release said.
In a statement to CTV News, the boy's father said he is feeling "overwhelmed" and is working on getting his son back to Saskatoon.
"(I) would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers and thank the Saskatoon Police Service for the hard work and thorough investigation which led to his return," he said.
In a message posted on Facebook, Walker's sister Patricia Dorian shared her gratitude for those who helped look for Walker and her son.
"From the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone for supporting my family in the search."
URGENT SEARCH FOR WALKER AND BOY
Before she was reported missing two days later, Walker was last seen around 6 p.m. on July 22 at a business in the 300 block of Owen Manor in the city's Brighton neighbourhood, according to police.
The search for Walker largely centred on the South Saskatchewan River, which runs through the park where her truck and belongings were found.
In addition to an extensive ground search, police and volunteers looked for signs of Walker and her son by air and sonar-equipped boat.
Dive teams also assisted in the search for the mother and son.
Walker is a long-time employee of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), where she serves as CEO.
The organization was set to offer a reward for information that would help locate Walker and her son.
A planned 10 a.m. press conference where the reward was expected to be announced was abruptly cancelled Friday morning.
'COMPLEX ISSUES' AT PLAY: FSIN
"At FSIN we know why First Nations women go missing and recognize that there are many complex issues that surround their disappearances," FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear said in a news release sent late Friday afternoon.
"This is clearly the case with Dawn and (her son) and we will be closely following the legal process with more details on this case eventually being made public,” Bear said.
Walker's mother, Theresa Walker was also quoted in the FSIN news release.
"Our prayers have been answered," Theresa said.
"The past 15 days have been extremely difficult on our family and community. We are extremely thankful to all those who helped with the search efforts," she said.
SHORTLISTED FOR LITERARY PRIZE WHILE MISSING
Walker is also a noted writer who has authored three novels.
On Wednesday, Walker was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for her most recent novel The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour.
The organizers behind the prestigous Canadian literary prize said they only became aware Walker was missing at the time of the annoucement and were concerned for her safety.
Canadian comedians Mark Critch and Rick Mercer join Walker on the three-person shortlist for the prize.
In a tweet on Thursday, Critch shared an image of a poster featuring Walker and her son.
"I only hope the Leacock nomination will help amplify word of the search for this great writer and her son," Critch wrote.
In 2021, Walker unsuccessfully ran federally for the Liberals in the city's Saskatoon-University riding.
SPS said it will share more information during a news conference on Monday as the investigation continues "to unfold rapidly."
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