'No one knows how to deal with this'

Brent Mazerolle & Aloma Jardine
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Family of missing Newfoundland woman hoping reward will entice someone to come forward with information

As they formally offered a $25,000 for information that leads to the recovery of Donna O'Rielly, the missing Moncton woman's daughters spoke Wednesday of a family tragedy that occurred last year in the family's native Newfoundland, when one of their aunts died in a fishing accident.

Speaking at their parents' beautiful hillside home on Front Mountain Road, with a dozen or more family members gathered around to support them and their father, Harold, Karen Streek and Amy Popowych spoke of the agonizing state of suspended animation the situation leaves them in.

As they formally offered a $25,000 for information that leads to the recovery of Donna O'Rielly, the missing Moncton woman's daughters spoke Wednesday of a family tragedy that occurred last year in the family's native Newfoundland, when one of their aunts died in a fishing accident.

Speaking at their parents' beautiful hillside home on Front Mountain Road, with a dozen or more family members gathered around to support them and their father, Harold, Karen Streek and Amy Popowych spoke of the agonizing state of suspended animation the situation leaves them in.

After the fishing accident, "the whole family rallied in New-foundland, and it was tragic - but it's different than this. No one knows how to deal with this," Karen said. "Obviously, as much as we don't want it, even a body recovered is better than nothing. Then we can deal with that however we can."

They are doggedly trying to remain hopeful their mother will return to them alive from wherever she is being held as the idea she has been abducted remains in their minds the only remaining possibility to explain her disappearance for what has now been nearly two weeks. However, the passing time has them more openly considering the possibility their mother is dead.

"The hardest moments are going to be when Karen has her third child," Popowych said yesterday, referring to the fact her sister is expecting her third child while she awaits her first.

"For her first two, me and Mom were there in the delivery room. When those moments happen and she's not there, that's when we're going to have it tough," she said. "For my first, there's no one I ever imagined next to me more than her. And to think I'd have to go through it without her, that's going to be really hard."

Streek said before her mother's disappearance, her mother and father had planned to be close by to help out when her baby came.

"She was basically going to be with me for the next year. She and Dad were going to help out. I'm going to have three children under three years old. I needed her. I still need her."

O'Rielly was last seen leaving the Highfield Square shopping centre in downtown Moncton Friday, February 26 at about 8 p.m. Since then, a huge number of the Newfoundland native's family members have been camped out at the family's home awaiting any word. O'Rielly's daughters said whoever has been able to stay on has, and that some family members from Halifax have been travelling back and forth as much as their work schedules allowed.

Harold O'Rielly is retired and Streek and Popowych are both in the military, which they said has been very generous in granting them extended compassionate leave so they can be with their father. Harold O'Rielly also has a sister in Moncton.

In talking about the reward the family has put up, with contributions from sympathetic businesses and individuals, they thanked everyone who already "have come forward with any information they may have had."

They said the reward is the final step in convincing people who may not be interested, or know something but need to be enticed because they have been in trouble with the law before or are concerned for their welfare. They said the reward can be anonymous because they are not concerned about convictions, just information that would lead to the recovery or return of their mother.

All information should be directed to the Codiac Regional RCMP at 506-857-2400, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Meanwhile, Codiac Regional RCMP say they have now identified and spoken to both the man and woman who appeared in the surveillance photos they released on March 9, 2010, the same photographs that appeared in Tuesday's Times and Transcript.

Organizations: Codiac Regional RCMP, Crime Stoppers

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Moncton, Front Mountain Road Halifax

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