Members of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association take a break in their weekend search for Ben Kilmer, missing since May. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Members of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association take a break in their weekend search for Ben Kilmer, missing since May. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

UPDATE: Search Dog Association members return to Edmonton after weekend hunt for missing Ben Kilmer

Ben Kilmer disappeared May 16

After four days of searching, volunteers and highly trained search dogs from the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association failed to turn up any sign of missing Cobble Hill man Ben Kilmer.

Thirteen members of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association and their canine companions spent the weekend searching for Kilmer who disappeared on May 16. His unlocked work van was found on the side of Cowichan Lake Road but the 41-year-old father of two youngsters was nowhere to be found.

RCMP said they found personal effects belonging to Kilmer and blood in the van as well as in a busy area nearby. A massive search was launched and in the days and weeks that followed, members of Cowichan Search and Rescue scoured the Sahtlam area. They were joined by dozens of concerned members of the public and friends of the Kilmer family.

CASDDA team leader Silvie Montier says the searchers began on Friday by scouring the area around Cowichan Lake Road where Kilmer’s van was found.

The search that involved the volunteers and eight dogs expanded throughout the region over three days but yielded no new information.

“It was pretty challenging,” Montier said on Monday afternoon as the effort wound down and the volunteers prepared to return to Edmonton.

“It was a huge area, lots of bush, forest and creeks. There was lots of hiking,” Montier said.

Montier, who is from Edmonton, wouldn’t discuss details of the investigation including who contacted her organization and why they chose to do the search last weekend.

The Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association is a non-profit group based in Alberta. On its website, the CASDDA says it provides its service to requesting organizations. Specially trained teams of dogs and handlers undergo rigorous certification testing and ongoing training in order to maintain their status as an active team ready to respond 24 hours a day.

Montier says funding comes from a number of sources including local donors.