Kaelyn Schneider still calls her mother every day.
She knows the call will go straight to voicemail. But she wants her mom to know that she’s not giving up.
Schneider and other family members last saw her mother, 43-year-old Tracy Lynn Day, on Feb. 14. They’ve scoured the town and have been vocal on social media, but still have yet to find her. Schneider said she calls Day’s phone each day, even though she knows the battery’s dead.
“I say, ‘Hey, if you’re not missing, you need to come and be found,’” Schneider said. “‘And if you are, I love you.’”
Day, a 5-foot-5, 135-pound woman, is white and Tlingit. In mid-February, when her family saw her last, she had brown hair with bangs. She usually wears her hair blonde, Schneider said, but has been wearing it brown with a little purple in it lately.
Day is being treated for bipolar and schizophrenia, her family members said, but she left her medication behind and hasn’t shown up for doctors’ appointments.
The Juneau Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into Day’s whereabouts, JPD Public Safety Manager Erann Kalwara said Wednesday. One person police interviewed told them that they saw and spent time with Day on March 26, Kalwara said. Kalwara wouldn’t identify the private citizen, as the investigation is still going.
“It was not a family member who saw her on the 26th,” Kalwara said via email. “Even with the information that someone spent time with her on the 26th we still feel it is best to move forward with a missing person investigation.”
Anyone with information or who has seen Day is asked to contact JPD at 586-0600.
Day was living at a St. Vincent de Paul apartment prior to going missing, her family members said. Around Feb. 20, her father John Day, Sr., got a call from a St. Vincent de Paul staff member who said Tracy hadn’t been around and hadn’t been doing her usual chores in a couple weeks.
Family members looked for Tracy around town, but couldn’t find her. Schneider said they weren’t too worried, and that Tracy always found her way back to them. As the days turned into weeks, however, the family members grew worried.
John had surgery, family members have visited town and Schneider’s birthday is soon. It’s very uncharacteristic of Tracy to miss major family events, her family members said. Through mental health and substance use disorder struggles, Tracy still remained in touch, her sister Crystal Delgado said.
“She has never, ever failed to contact her family. Ever,” Delgado said. “She’s well known through this whole town. We’ve been here all our lives.”
Tracy has made friends throughout town, in part because of her caring nature. She’d literally give people the coat off her back if they were cold, her sisters recalled. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why Tracy showed up to her mother’s house on Feb. 14 wearing slip-on shoes and a thin jacket.
Tracy’s twin sister, Angela Day-Nalan, gave Tracy a pair of black snowpants. By the time Angela dropped her off downtown that night, Tracy was wearing the snowpants, blue rubber boots, a black hoodie and a turquoise vest with a hood. Angela said that when Tracy got out of the car at the corner of Franklin Street and Ferry Way, Tracy walked over to two men who were standing near the former Heritage Coffee location there.
Since then, people around the community have offered their own theories to Tracy’s family, telling them stories of spotting her around town or popping up in Ketchikan.
“We’ve had a lot of strange people saying some pretty weird things.” Schneider said.
Tracy’s mental health struggles have made it even more difficult to know where to look. Multiple family members said Tracy had talked to them about thinking someone was after her in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. They just thought she was having an episode.
“It’s possible that just because she was sick, doesn’t mean that that’s not a possibility,” Delgado said.
The family members are holding out hope, but are finding it difficult not to be worried. Tracy’s mother Lilly Day teared up as she talked about how much Tracy enjoys hiking. The thought of her going for a hike and getting stranded somewhere is scary, Lilly said.
Lilly echoed what her daughters said, that Tracy can make friends wherever she goes and that she tries to make everyone’s day a little brighter.
“She tells everybody she loves them,” Lilly said. “Even strangers.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.