The mothers of three missing First Nations men hold pictures of their sons. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Column: Help needed to find missing men

Robert’s column

Writing up press releases from the police about missing people in the area is part of a reporter’s job.

We usually get a recent picture of the missing person from the police, the circumstances under which they were last seen, what they were wearing and what they look like.

Aware that quick action can sometimes save lives and solve cases, newsrooms like ours work quickly to get this information out to the public as soon as possible.

Most times, the missing person is found quickly.

In a lot of cases, the missing person is a teenager with personal and/or family issues and they, or one of their friends, usually get in touch with their loved ones once they know they are looking for them.

But sometimes, the missing people stay missing and years go by with no word to family and friends on if they are still alive and what happened to them.

That heartbreak became abundantly clear to me recently at a meeting, hosted by Cowichan Tribes, to update the community on the ongoing efforts to find three missing First Nations men who have not been seen for years.

The three men are Desmond Peter, who disappeared 10 years ago, and Everett Jones and Ian Henry, who have been missing for about two years.

I had the opportunity to meet the men’s mothers at the meeting and the pain and suffering they have been experiencing for years was clearly etched into their faces.

Liz Louie, the mother of Desmond Peter, who disappeared at the young age of 14 and has been missing for 10 years, tearfully pleaded for the return of her son at the meeting.

She said she has never stopped looking for Desmond and asked the community to keep their eyes open for him as well, and report any information they might have about his disappearance to the authorities.

I could only imagine the pain these mothers, and the families and friends of these men, are suffering through.

Listening to them speak, it occurred to me that the mothers’ lives stopped the minute their sons went missing.

All the joy and happiness they experienced before that has been replaced by worry, fear and anguish, and I expect they may never be the same again until the mystery around their children’s disappearance is put to rest.

Patsy Jones, a member of Cowichan Tribes, is related to all three missing men and has been leading a small group of searchers in trying to locate them.

An impressive lady with seemingly inexhaustible strength and determination, Jones and her team have been scouring every inch of the Cowichan Valley searching for any signs of the men.

They’ve even been tearing apart log jams in rivers for any scrap of evidence of them.

Jones and her team have also been to Vancouver, placing pictures of the men along with contact information on telephone poles and building walls to see if anyone there has any idea where they could be.

Jones, who pays for most of her search out of her own pocket, has also been talking to government ministers and local politicians to seek assistance in her ongoing mission.

But more help is required; and that’s why the meeting was held.

If anyone out there has any information, no matter how trivial, about these men around the time they disappeared, or since then, they should contact the police immediately.

Who were they with? Where were they going? Did they say anything out of the ordinary?

You might not think your information is relevant, but it could break one of these cases wide open.

Anyone with information about any of the missing men should call the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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