Former Brentwood rower, coach, missing

Former Mill Bay resident Harold Backer went for a bike ride on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 3 and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Former Mill Bay resident Harold Backer went for a bike ride on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 3 and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Now a resident of Victoria, Backer, 52, had told his wife he was going out to ride his bike but didn’t expect to have too long of a ride.

But, according to Const. Matt Rutherford, the Victoria Police Department’s spokesperson, the missing persons case has turned into a multi-jurisdictional, cross-border investigation.

“Our initial investigation has revealed that he left Victoria on the Black Ball Coho Ferry the morning of Nov. 3,” Rutherford wrote in a press release. “VicPD investigators contacted Port Angeles Police, who have been vital in our efforts to locate him.”

The ferry was bound for Port Angeles in Washington State.

“Both through our efforts and the fantastic support from our U.S. law enforcement partners, such as the Port Angeles Police Department, we continue to receive tips that we’re working with now,” VicPD Detective Sgt. Kris Rice said. “Tips are important in a missing persons file like this and sometimes it is the smallest detail that helps. It could be something that appears insignificant that helps us bring Harold safely home to his family.”

Backer is believed to be wearing a red cycling jersey, black riding pants, possibly carrying a black backpack and would be riding his black Cannondale road bike.

The missing family man stands six-foot-three-inches tall and has a medium build and has blue/green eyes and short grey hair.

Port Angeles Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said his investigating officer “is 85 per cent certain” that the cyclist spotted on the surveillance cameras at the ferry was Backer.

“We have found no evidence that he stayed in Port Angeles,” Smith said. “The US Customs and Border Protection Agency checks persons into a data base when they board the Coho. They visually check documents when they disembark in Port Angeles but do not do any database entry. We do not have any additional or new information.”

Backer was a high-level rower who competed in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 summer Olympics.

The Brentwood College Alumnus (1980) went on to row at Princeton University and returned to Brentwood for a time as a coach.

Family and friends are trying to put together the pieces of just what has happened to their loved one.

A Facebook page (Finding Harold Backer. Missing since Nov 3rd 2015) has been set up to share information about Backer’s whereabouts and the places that have been searched.

Victoria police are asking those who see Backer to call 911. Those with information as to his whereabouts, are asked to call Victoria Police at 250-995-7654.

“All federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have the information and lookout for Mr. Backer,” Smith said.

Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read