Ben Kilmer, clean shaven when he went missing, might be sporting quite a bit of stubble now. (Submitted)

A week after he went missing, family, friends and volunteers continue search for Ben Kilmer

Friends and family are now looking in areas north of Highway 18 and towards Lake Cowichan

The search for Cobble Hill’s Ben Kilmer may have been scaled back, but friends, family, and members of the public are still keenly searching for the 41-year-old man who went missing a week ago.

The search is now moving westward and northward. According to the Facebook page, Find Ben Kilmer, friends and family went up Wednesday on quads to the Copper Canyon and Hill 60 areas. They also went out to look in areas west of Skutz Falls towards Lake Cowichan.

On Thursday morning, the effort was continuing.

“Friends, family and amazing volunteers, we are posted again at the Sahtlam fire hall today and we need you now more than ever,” the page said.

“Please come prepared to search either on foot, on ATV, dirt bike, mountain bike, horse, or with your drone. We need you there! You will be assigned a task at the fire hall. Come join these beautiful people and help us bring Ben home to his family and friends. We are looking for permission from land owners to search properties on the north side of Highway 18 near the Tansor/Highway 18 intersection.”

Friends came out to the firehall site May 23 to offer music to keep the up spirits of searchers. Others were out putting up posters and flyers as far away as Nanaimo.

There is a note, though, for anyone thinking of helping out, according to the search team.

These searches are “only for people who can hike through deep bush and be sure footed. [They] must be fully equipped for thick bush whacking.”

Searchers are urged to “look through vegetation near any crevices.”

In addition, searching is going on along the lower Trans Canada trail starting at Skutz Falls and heading towards Cowichan Lake, with the people involved “looking in the bush on either side, as deep as people can safely get” and checking out the entire Bear Creek area.

The Find Ben Kilmer team are telling everyone: “Remember that safety is our number one priority. Come prepared with long pants, long sleeves, hiking boots, gators, hat, glasses, water, food, sunscreen, whistle, light. Please be safe and stay with your group.”

Teams going out should not be fewer than four people, and everyone should sign in and out from the Sahtlam fire hall. Tables are set up there.

Kilmer remains missing after an extensive search over the long weekend that encompassed acres of land and more than 100 volunteers, both official Search and Rescue personnel as well as family and friends.

A search was initiated for the 41-year-old husband and father on Wednesday, May 16 after his work van was found parked along Cowichan Lake Road west of Menzies Road. The electrician’s vehicle was empty but the engine was still running, and blood was found in the vehicle..

The initial resources used for the search included RCMP investigators, a police dog team and 29 Cowichan Search and Rescue members.

Kilmer is described as five-foot-10 and 180 pounds, with short brown hair and blue eyes. When last seen, he was clean-shaven and wearing light-coloured pants, a black shirt and steel-toed work boots but as SAR search managers said Monday, he may be sporting quite a bit of stubble as it’s been quite a while since he’s been home.

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