The sighting of a missing Victoria couple’s vehicle in Vernon has not been ruled out despite the pair possibly being found dead on Vancouver Island.
James Evans, 23, and 36-year-old Easha Rayel, are believed to be the people found deceased in a crashed BMW off of the Pat Bay Highway near Saanich on Saturday, Aug. 24.
“We believe we had a confirmed sighting in Vernon,” said Sidney-North Saanich RCMP Const. Meighan de Pass.
The department confirmed that Evans’ blue 2002 BMW 325i was in Vernon on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 12.
Meanwhile, Evans’ identical twin brother, Zach, believes the pair died the same day they were last seen.
He said his brother was last seen on Aug. 9 around 8 p.m. by some friends at a Chevron gas station in Sidney. Zach logged into his brother’s Facebook account and saw that his last message had been sent at 11 p.m. that night. He believes he may have picked up Rayel shortly after and was heading north towards his mother’s house, which was near the ferry terminal when the accident occurred.
The dark blue BMW was travelling northbound on Highway 17 when it veered off the highway just north of McDonald Road, and plunged down a deep ravine. Sidney-North Saanich RCMP said the vehicle was obscured by thick, natural brush. They believe the bodies to be that of Rayel and Evans.
Now in the hands of BC Coroner Service, RCMP said they can’t comment on how long the vehicle was there. That does little to comfort Evans, who believes police efforts were wasted on what he says was a false sighting in Vernon.
“It’s just horrible that the police tried focusing their efforts and power in Vernon on this false statement but could have done a better job focusing in Sidney, closer to home.”
Until the coroner can confirm how long the bodies were at the crash site, RCMP are still not ruling out the Vernon sighting.
“We haven’t disproven that either at this time,” said de Pass, adding that it is a sad turn of events.
“Unfortunately not everything works out, we were hoping that they were up there (Vernon) travelling.”
– with files from Nina Grossman, Black Press Media