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Wife of missing Comox Valley man asks public to keep eyes open in the backcountry

Michael Gazetas of Courtenay has been missing since January.
Michelle Root, Michael Gazetas’ wife, appealed to the public to be extra diligent when out in the backcountry or logging roads as the weather warms for evidence of her missing husband. Photo by Erin Haluschak

The wife of a Comox Valley man who has been missing since late January is asking the public to continue their search of any signs of Michael Gazetas or his vehicle now that more people are spending time outdoors.

Gazetas, 51, was last seen around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31, 2020 leaving his residence in Courtenay. He left in his red Ford Ranger pickup (with a BC licence plate HX4109) and was wearing a red and blue poncho over a black shirt and vest with dark coloured jeans and a green toque.

Extensive searches by ground search and rescue teams, family, friends and police have been conducted but have not turned up any evidence of his whereabouts.

On Thursday afternoon, Michelle Root, Gazetas’ wife asked those heading to the backcountry to keep an eye out for evidence now that the snow has melted.

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“(Please keep an eye out) on logging roads or the backcountry where we strongly suspect him to be - call the RCMP for the recovery of my husband. It’s very important to bring him home and to get any answers we can as he left many questions about his disappearance and that we might be able to put him to rest.”

She adds Gazetas, who was a location scout for the film industry, “loved life, he loved his family, he loved his friends and he loved me very much, I love him very much and I know that if there way any way that he was able to return to me on his own he would have come home.”

Gazetas, who Root describes as “pretty much a West Coast boy,” was familiar with the area in which she suspected him to be travelling. She did not suspect anything suspicious about that day, and says he was a good communicator who always kept his cell phone on and was regularly texting or calling.

Additionally, Gazetas had an appointment scheduled for later in the day, and when Root didn’t hear from him, she became concerned. By nightfall, she knew something was wrong.

“By all indications, he was planning on coming home that day,” she explains.

The couple who have been together for 12-and-a-half year and married for 11, recently moved to Vancouver Island. Root says the experience is extremely difficult to put into words, and it is extremely difficult to describe what it feels like for those who haven’t experienced a similar situation.

“I expected to have a long life with him. We expected to grow old together … we had many plans for our future here, and to have those suddenly cut off, it breaks my heart. I walk around the property and see all the things comes into fruition since he’s been gone and imagine how much he would have loved to see those things. Four months later, I’m still devastated.

“Every day I want to talk to him, and he’s not here to talk to.”

Const. Monika Terragni, media relations officer for the Comox Valley RCMP says police do have any evidence to believe Gazetas has left Vancouver Island.

The detachment has also received a lot of tips from the public.

“There’s a lot of different places he could be, and now that the snow is melting, the snowpack is receding, maybe people will be in some of those places we couldn’t access before.”

For any information about Michael Gazetas or his truck, call the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or to remain anonymous, contact Comox Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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