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Police suspend ground search for missing Australian woman

'At this point all available leads have been exhausted,' RCMP says

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With "all available leads exhausted," local police have decided to suspend the ground search for Alison Raspa, an Australian national who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

The 25-year-old has not been seen since just after midnight on Nov. 23 when she left a village bar. Although police have turned up several of Raspa's personal items that were found in Creekside, an "extended almost two-week effort" has brought them nowhere closer to finding her.

"The search to date (has) been extensive and has circumnavigated the park, lakes, as well as the road/trails/parkades leaving from the village to Alpha Lake Park. At this point all available leads have been exhausted," read a Dec. 5 release from local police.

Whistler RCMP, Whistler Search and Rescue, the local fire department, RCMP Air Services and its Underwater Recovery Team have all participated in the efforts, along with a small group of family and friends who led a search party last Friday, Dec. 1 through Alpha Lake Park, where Raspa's cell phone was found.

Raspa's brother Steve made the trip from Australia to assist in the search, and thanked those who came out to lend a hand.

"Thank you for searching for my sister," he said. Visibly upset, Steve Raspa and other searchers declined to be interviewed.

Raspa's jacket, backpack and wallet were also discovered near Highway 99 and Lake Placid Road. Police said they have yet to determine why these items were discarded, but they "do not believe it is the result of foul play." It is common for individuals suffering from severe hypothermia to experience "hot flashes" and feel as though they're burning up, even removing items of clothing in extreme cases.

After leaving from the Three Below Restaurant Wednesday night, police said Raspa spoke with a friend on the Village Stroll and later may have taken public transit to Creekside. Authorities also revealed that Raspa had texted some of her friends at approximately 1:15 a.m. to say she was lost.

In previous interviews with Pique, Staff Sgt. Paul Hayes would not say whether Raspa was intoxicated at the time she left the bar, and Three Below owner Priyanka Kathuria declined to be interviewed while the investigation is ongoing.

For now, the missing person file will remain open until Raspa is located.

Law enforcement are still appealing for anyone who may remember seeing Raspa on the evening of Nov. 22 and into the early hours of Nov. 23. Contact the detachment at 604-932-3044 with any relevant information.

-With files from Joel Barde

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