LYTTON - It was nine months since a Lytton man was last seen and on Sunday local search and rescue crews hoped to finally solve the mystery of his disappearance and bring closure to his family.
Gordon Davis, 87, was last seen riding his ATV on Aug. 30, 2014. Two days later his ATV was found about 10 kilometres from his house, but even after an extensive two-day search there was no sign of the man.
Davis, who lived alone in the valley bottom, was in the early stages of Alzheimers disease and considered quite frail before he went missing.
Every now and again a case like this offers search teams an opportunity to find someone alive. Not in this case, but perhaps the training will give teams the skills and training so next time, they may find someone before it's too late. RCMP suggested the terrain would make for a good search training opportunity and this past weekend 30 people converged on the area to try and find some clues as to what happened to Davis.
Kamloops Search and Rescue Manager Alan Hobler says 27 ground crew members, along with the RCMP Air 4 helicopter, Provincial Emergency Program Air planners and two planes, hoped to not only find clues but to also use the opportunity for training.
“It’s a good opportunity to make mistakes, to take our time a little more,” Hobler says, adding they also used the opportunity to allow newer members to take the lead on planning.
Usually Hobler gets a search plan in place within an hour but in this case they were able to take two nights to plan everything out for a total of about 100 man-hours of planning.
On Sunday, three dog teams, one RCMP and two search and rescue teams got an early start and two hours later the rest of the ground and air teams joined in. Unfortunately, they came up with nothing but a good training opportunity. They are talking about returning again next year to try again.
“Nothing was found Sunday, nothing at all,” Hobler says. “But sometimes finding nothing tells you something too.”
Search and rescue teams regularly are called out to search for missing or injured people, but evidence searches and cold cases are just one more way search and rescue teams help local RCMP.
The last evidence search Kamloops teams helped on prior to the Davis case was a year and a half ago for Bette-Jean Masters, the woman who went missing as a toddler. In the North Okanagan Search Manager Leigh Pearson says they do two or three evidence searches every year for the RCMP.
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