Rick Vermiere, seen here with wife, Lucy, grew up with Darreld Rayner. The couple are among many Lake residents still hoping to hear what has happened to him. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Rick Vermiere, seen here with wife, Lucy, grew up with Darreld Rayner. The couple are among many Lake residents still hoping to hear what has happened to him. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

VIDEO: Friends of Darreld Rayner hope for news after human remains found at Lake

Speculation it may be Darreld Rayner, who has been missing for 10 years

The Coroners Service is investigating after human remains were found in the Cowichan Lake area on Dec. 23, amid speculation the remains may belong to Darreld Rayner, missing for 10 years.

Rayner, a Lake Cowichan resident and member of the Youbou TimberLess Society, went missing in 2007, and no trace of what happened to him has ever been found, although friends and family have never given up hope of finding him.

“I can tell you the Coroners Service has been called to investigate found human remains at Lake Cowichan last week but at this stage we have not determined the identity of the decedent,” said Andy Watson of the BC Coroners Service. “In order to determine the identity of the deceased, we will be doing some testing of samples (per normal procedure).”

Watson said it may take about a month for testing.

Dewi Griffiths, president and a search leader for Cowichan Search and Rescue, said “the Saturday, Dec. 23 recovery was to assist RCMP and Coroner, but I’m not sure we can comment other than to say our team performed a difficult task with professionalism and dedication in tricky, snowy conditions.”

The details of Rayner’s disappearance are sketchy.

On May 7, 2007, Rayner, who was 52 years old at the time, went missing while walking his dog.

He was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. walking along Fairservice Main logging road, roughly three kilometres from his home. Beginning that afternoon, an extensive search was conducted by RCMP and local search and rescue crews, with the assistance of family and volunteers.

Rayner’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was found that night by searchers, as was a coffee cup belonging to Rayner.

An intensive search, which included the use of tracking dogs and helicopters, covered that area thoroughly. The search went on for several days, and more than 3,400 search hours were expended.

Even after the official search ended, the family and other volunteers continued to search for Rayner in the area south of Lake Cowichan for several more months, never giving up hope that their family member and friend would be found.

***

Rick Vermiere of Lake Cowichan grew up with Rayner.

“His dad and my dad played horseshoes. And they used to go everywhere to compete. They would go to the Cowichan Exhibition and Sooke Days. At any of those fair kinds of things they had horseshoe tournaments. And my dad and his dad were the two best horseshoe players in Youbou so they’d participate. They’d either compete as a single or they’d work together in a doubles match, two against two. My dad won the Island championship one year and then when my dad retired from it, Murray took over and he won the championship.

“We were always meeting at these fairs and because there’s wasn’t anybody else, not in our town, we were the only ones who knew each other and we liked to hang around with people we knew. We’d go see the sideshows at the fairs and go on the rides and hang out together. That’s how we got together. Him and I were the same age. He had an older sister and two younger ones so my sisters used to hang around with his older sister. That’s how we got to be as close as we were.

“We both went to school together. Then we both signed up and worked at Youbou for just about 30 years each. Then, when the mill went down we were hanging out at our TimberLess meetings and protests together and stuff.

“Then one day it was: Oh, he’s missing. We were all wondering what was going on. He had his routine, I heard. He’d go out and take his dog on the trail for a walk, then come back and carry on for the day. But he didn’t come back that one day. So we were wondering what was going on. Was it an accident? Was it something more sinister? We just kept in touch through the TimberLess Society, asking each other: have you heard anything. We kept on hoping.”

Just Posted

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

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

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read