Friday, April 19, 2024

Search for Melissa McDevitt suspended after nine days of efforts: Sooke RCMP

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The search for a missing 38-year-old hiker has been suspended as of Monday, December 19th.

Initially, Melissa McDevitt’s disappearance was being investigated by VicPD when her family reported her missing for not showing up for a flight. She last spoke with family members on December 8th. 

Her vehicle was found near the Charters River and Hatchery parking lot on December 10th and a ground search was initiated immediately by Juan De Fuca Search and Rescue. 

According to police, it isn’t out of the ordinary for McDevitt to go hiking near the Sooke Potholes and on neighbouring trails like John Stick Peak, Malcolm, the Donald, Mike Hill, the Three Amigos and Tony’s Triumph.

Sooke RCMP took over the investigation from VicPD after video footage was found showing McDevitt entering a trail-head just before 2 p.m. on December 9th, with nothing but two hiking poles.

On Friday, Sooke RCMP, the Juan De Fuca Search and Rescue team, RCMP Air Services and Police Dog Services scaled back their search and the search shifted gears to a recovery mission rather than a rescue, given the circumstances of the weather conditions and the fact they had not found her yet.

On Saturday, there were nearly 200 volunteers with boots-on-the-ground in the area of the Charters River and Hatchery trying to find McDevitt in spite of the rain.

Following the weekend, the recovery search was suspended by Sooke RCMP.

“The Sooke RCMP, along with Ms. McDevitt’s family, wish to extend their sincere appreciation to Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, along with over 17 other assisting Search and Rescue agencies from across Vancouver Island and other parts of British Columbia, for their significant search efforts over the last 9 days,” said Acting Sooke RCMP Detachment Commander Sergeant Kevin Shaw.

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Police say that McDevitt is a 38-year-old Caucasian woman who is described as neuro-divergent and she may initially show signs of cognitive delay. 

She is described as standing 5’ tall, with a slim build, weighing approximately 105 pounds. McDevitt has alopecia but occasionally wears wigs or has short, dyed, rainbow coloured hair.

Police say they will continue to investigate McDevitt’s disappearance and ask anyone with information to call Sooke RCMP at (250) 642-5241.

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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