The mother of Desmond Peter, one of three missing First Nations men, wants answers to his disappearance 10 years ago.
Speaking at a meeting on Nov. 21 hosted by Cowichan Tribes to update the community on the ongoing efforts to find the men, Liz Louie tearfully said Desmond was just 14 years old when he disappeared and would be 24 now.
She said she has continued to search for him since he disappeared.
“The community needs to know these men are still missing, and more needs to be done to find them,” she said.
“It takes a community to raise a child, and it will take a community to help find these missing people as well.”
Desmond Peter was reported missing on March 12, 2007, from Duncan.
Two other First Nations men from the area went missing more recently.
Everett Jones, 47, was last seen leaving his home in the Club Road area in Duncan on the morning of Feb. 10, 2016, and Ian Henry, 26, has been missing since August, 2015, when he left his Tzouhalem Road-area home.
Family and community members, as well as the RCMP, have been actively searching for the men since each of them disappeared.
RCMP Corp. Kerry Howse, head of First Nations policing for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, provided updates on each police file on the men at Tuesday’s community meeting.
He said Desmond Peter’s file has been sent to the B.C. Missing Persons Centre in Vancouver for a complete review to determine if local investigators might have overlooked something that could help break the case.
Howse said police have recently received some leads in Everett Jones’s disappearance that are being investigated, but provided no information as to what the tips are.
As for Ian Henry, Howse said the file has been sent to the RCMP’s Major Crime Unit in Victoria for review.
But he said that’s not because the RCMP have any indication that a major crime has taken place.
“Every missing person file has to be constantly reviewed, and this is just an opportunity for a fresh set of eyes to take a look at it, so the Major Crime Unit will review it and get back to us as to what, if anything, we can do further,” Howse said.
“We want the community to know that none of these three files are closed and are all being actively investigated.”
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.
She said the group has searched through great swaths of the Cowichan Valley, including along all the local rivers, local logging roads, and around Mount Tzouhalem and the valley below it in efforts to locate any sign of the men.
Jones said requests have been made to take apart some of the log jams in the Cowichan and Somenos rivers in their hunt to find some clues to the men’s disappearances, but they may have to step back for awhile from the search as the weather worsens.
“Two years missing is too long for Ian and Everett, and 10 years missing is way too long for Desmond,” Jones said.
“We‘re beginning to feel at a loss and it’s hard to do more. Our family needs help with this.”
William Seymour, chief of Cowichan Tribes, said he hopes the meeting will spur a new push to finally end the mystery of the disappearance of the three men.
“These men have been missing for quite awhile, and every day it increases the heaviness on their families because they just don’t have any answers,” he said.
Anyone with information about any of the missing men should call the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.