Disappearance hits New West family hard, daughter says

“I’ll be back. I’m going for dinner; I’ll see you at home,” is the last thing Vanessa said to her mother Nirla, before Nirla went missing in Queensborough earlier this week.

Vanessa wants to give her a different message.

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“I’d tell her I love her over and over again,” she told the Record. “I don’t want those (words) to be the last thing that I tell my mom.”

Sharma, 44, was last seen at her residence in the 300 block of Lawrence Street on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m., according to a press release from police.

When last seen, Sharma was wearing pink pajamas with a pink T-shirt and had gone to bed. Although Sharma was last seen wearing pajamas, but she may be wearing a black jacket with a hood and orange Nike shoes, according to her daughter. She also took her Apple watch with her, she said.

The night before, on Feb. 23, there was nothing out of the ordinary that happened, Vanessa said, adding they spent the weekend together.

At 4 a.m. the next morning, Vanessa heard the front door chime.

My bedroom is right above the front door,” she said. “So I thought she just took out our dogs.”

The door was still unlocked at 4:45 a.m., when Vanessa’s boyfriend left.

“I thought she was at the park because that’s not out of the ordinary,” Vanessa said.

At 7 a.m., Vanessa’s father Rishi came and woke her. Nirla wasn’t at work at 6:30 a.m., as usual.

At first they thought she might have gone to the gym, but they didn’t find her there.

Vanessa thought Nirla might have been stressed about work and possibly just blowing off steam, so they didn’t contact the police until 3 p.m. The police came right away, she said.

Nirla and Vanessa work together at BC Hydro. Nirla is a go-getter who is always doing something, who is respected at her job, Vanessa said.

“My mom is the most hard-working person that I know,” Vanessa said. “She is the most determined person I know.”

She also helps others, and her disappearance has hit her colleagues hard, according to Vanessa.

“She helped a lot of people, not just with their careers but personally as well,” Vanessa said. “It hit coworkers the hardest because they’re where they are today because of her.”

Last year, Nirla won an award for being the best manager at BC Hydro, according to her daughter.

Nirla lives with her daughter, her son and her husband.

On Jan. 28, Rishi Deo Sharma was charged with uttering threats against Nirla on Jan. 25, according to court documents.

“Whatever happened in the past happened,” Vanessa said. “Every couple has problems, there’s not a single couple that’s perfect and doesn’t have issues. I know that my dad loves my mom more than anything in this world besides his kids.”

They were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years, she said.

His father helped Nirla become a real estate agent and get her business degree, Vanessa said.

“It has definitely hit him the hardest. That’s his best friend,” she said. “He would do anything to get her back.”

It has also been particularly hard on Vanessa’s son, who is close with his mother, Vanessa said.

Vanessa is hopeful that her mother will return soon, she said.

“I’m still very hopeful; I haven’t lost hope. I pray for her every day, and I know my family does as well,” she said. “I just want my mom home at this point.”

Sharma is a South Asian woman, who is 5’3”, weighs about 138 pounds and has a slim build, the police press release stated. She has a medium complexion, short black hair and brown eyes.

She has a tattoo of an Om symbol on her left arm, a tattoo of a crown on her right wrist, a rose on her tailbone and a design on her left ankle, according to police.

Investigators are requesting anyone with information and those with dash-cam video footage who may have been driving in the area of Lawrence Street and Ewen Avenue, between midnight and 6 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, contact Det. Justine Thom at 604-529-2578.

The New Westminster Police Department’s major crime unit is investigating. Coquitlam Search and Rescue is helping with the search for Sharma.


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