Six years after a Vavenby man went missing police have announced a break in the case.
A pickup truck belonging to Vern Boettger, who was 78 when he went missing in October of 2013, was found in a culvert on Sept. 5, not far from where the Vavenby resident lived.
The 1997 Ford Ranger was found approximately one kilometre north of Graffunder Lake east of Vavenby, leading police, search and rescue crews and Boettger’s family members to conduct new searches, according to Clearwater Mounties.
A five-kilometre radius around the vehicle’s location was scoured, but no new evidence was found that might help investigators determine what may have happened to Boettger.
“While the vehicle appears to have gotten stuck, we have no reason to believe that there is anything suspicious” Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Grant Simpson said.
According to RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, there is no evidence of foul play, but there are signs the truck became stuck in the culvert and Boettger was unable to dislodge it.
“The description of where the vehicle was found has been described as very rugged and overgrown since the vehicle perhaps got stuck there,” Saunderson said.
Boettger as last seen on Oct. 6, 2013, driving his pickup. He was reported missing by his daughter the following evening.
She described her father as a loner who, when bored, likes to go driving on Forest Service roads in the backcountry.
Police said Boettger didn’t have significant medical/health issues, did not use alcohol or drugs and did not have dementia.
Initial search efforts in 2013 confirmed Boettger got gas in Clearwater and as a result an air search was conducted in the Clearwater area.
Clearwater RCMP subsequently received information that a Vavenby resident who knows Boettger and his truck observed him in his vehicle driving north on Highway 5 from Vavenby.
The missing person investigation remains open and anyone who may have any information on this is asked to call the Clearwater RCMP at 250-674-2237 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.