July 09, 2015 - 9:00 PM
VERNON - The family of a missing man presumed drowned in Kalamalka Lake is raising funds to continue the search for their loved one by hiring a specialized team.
Police dive teams spent multiple days unsuccessfully scouring the lake and surrounding area for Curtis Wilson, who has been missing for nearly two weeks now. RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the teams have exhausted the search to the best of their capabilities and no further dives are planned. Police and Search and Rescue spent days searching by ground, air, and water and while investigators continue to follow up on tips that suggest he may be elsewhere, Molendyk says the RCMP ‘still believe everything points to him being in Kalamalka Lake.’
Those aren't easy words for Curtis’ sister Shanna Wilson to hear. She still holds out hope he is alive.
“Even though I know how confident (RCMP) are, I still can’t accept that unless I know myself for sure, without a doubt,” she says.
That’s why her family has decided to bring in the assistance of Gene and Sandy Ralston, a couple from Idaho who use sonar equipment to search for drowning victims. Over the past 14 years, the Ralstons have recovered the remains of 98 people when others could not.
“I completely understand that the RCMP feel they have exhausted their resources,” Shanna says. “The sooner I can get the money together (to hire the Ralstons), the sooner I can have them come here, the sooner my family can have closure.”
The Ralstons are a not-for profit operation, but do ask for compensation for travel, accommodation and fuel expenses. A Go Fund Me page has been established to help the Wilson family raise enough money to bring them to Vernon. It’s difficult to say how much the service will cost because the Ralston’s search could last days, but Shanna says any and all donations, and even Facebook shares, are appreciated. Any funds left over will be donated to the Ralstons’ charities.
The situation has taken a heavy toll on the Wilson family, many of whom travelled to Vernon to help look for Curtis. But Shanna says the worst part is not knowing for sure what happened to him.
“Every day I am wondering if he did get out somehow. I’ve thought up crazy circumstances that are totally unreal. I just can’t let go of that hope,” Shanna says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015