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Family of missing Merritt murder victim overwhelmed with rumours, questions

A photo of a missing 24-year-old Merritt man is seen in this candlelit alter belonging to his family.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Elijah Mack-Stirling

The brother of a missing Merritt man believed to be the victim of homicide is overwhelmed by the number of rumours, tips and questions coming in about the unsolved case, and he thinks he knows who is responsible for the murder.

Elijah Mack-Stirling’s brother Miguel Mack was reported missing in March of last year and on Feb. 29, the Southeast District Major Crime Unit said he was the victim of a homicide.

"His disappearance and murder are senseless acts and this investigation remains a priority for the (major crime unit),” RCMP Staff Sgt. Jason Smart said at the time.

“It is important to police that the person(s) responsible for his disappearance and murder be held accountable and it is even more important for Mr. Mack’s family to be provided with some semblance of closure so that they can begin to heal from this terrible ordeal.”

Mack-Stirling said what his family has been through since the disappearance of Miguel is “unfathomable.”

“My mother is constantly up and down the streets in Merritt, the highways and backroads,” he said. “She’s checking garbage dumps and anything wrapped up that resembles a body.

“We get up every single day and at the top of our minds we hope Miguel’s going to come home. We gather and talk about how we’ll go around the next hurdle, it’s non-stop agony.”

When Mack was reported missing, the family was quick to go to the media to raise awareness, but that has opened them up to a continuous bombardment of messages, rumours and tips.

“It can get very overwhelming,” Mack-Stirling said. “It’s unique the path we’re walking because of the rumours going around, little things are said about if he’s alive or dead, or was tossed in a river or was stabbed or shot or cut up. The day the unit declared his death a homicide, for us to find out like that, and handle questions coming in from everywhere has been traumatizing.”

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He said the family is confident they know who is behind the crime but has not found evidence to prove it yet. The most common rumour they hear points to the same person.

“I believe I know the guy involved in the disappearance, he’s a ruthless psychopath with a lot of criminal charges so no one wants to speak up, it’s risky,” Mack-Stirling said. “We don’t want him going after our family, there is only so much we can do. We’ve been followed by the same vehicles, they drive by our house.

“The police are stuck in a circle of ‘he said, she said’ and we can’t proceed without evidence. We’re not as high priority as other investigations because we’re looking for a dead body. We’re being as patient as possible.”

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The family will not stop searching and raising awareness for their missing loved one. They recently put on a ball tournament in Miguel’s name and organized a community march. About 160 people took part, walking the streets in Merritt, making noise to let whoever is involved know they haven't given up looking for Miguel.

“We’re going to keep showing the world we’re still here, we’re strong and want to show what kind of support we have as a family. We’re surviving, surviving moments, days, anniversaries until we get closure.”

RCMP said the investigation is a priority and anyone with relevant information is asked to contact the Southeast District Major Crime Unit's Tip Line at 1-877-987-8477.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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