The last conversation Marie Christian had with her son David was on St. Patrick's Day, hours before he would go missing. She had climbed a local mountain outside of Dublin and was thinking of her son thousand of kilometres away in the mountain town that he was planning to call home. So she called him.
They spoke a little about work and plans for the summer, and whom he was celebrating the day with. He cut it short because he couldn't hear very well over the din of the celebration at Merlin's, but his last words as they said goodbye were "I love you."
"I can rest easy with that," said Marie, who arrived in Whistler on Thursday with David's stepfather to help with the search for her son. That search concluded the previous day, Wednesday, March 21 with the discovery of a body in Horstman Creek.
This Thursday she will fly her son's body back to Ireland to his two grieving brothers Andrew and Robert and his extended family.
David's friends are at a loss to explain how the guy they thought of as a big brother, always the responsible one, was found dead in the woods around Lost Lake. He was last seen at 11:30 p.m. on March 17 at Merlin's and was heard from again at 2:30 a.m. the next morning via a text message. He was expected to head to Vancouver on Sunday for mass, and with David working opposite shifts to his roommate and close friend Matt Gore he wasn't reported missing until he failed to show up to work on Monday morning.
A search effort got underway immediately with ski patrol avalanche dogs, RCMP dog teams, Search and Rescue, volunteers from the community and staff at Whistler Blackcomb, but in the end it was a member of the public who found his shoes on the 15th fairway of the Fairmont Chateau Golf Course on Wednesday, March 21 and called police. They followed footprints through the snow, and eventually found his body in Horstman Creek.
Friends now believe David, known as "Irish Dave" to friends, may have gotten on the wrong bus to the Benchlands instead of to Staff Housing, From there they suspect he followed the wrong trail into the woods and became disorientated while trying to take a shortcut home. While the investigation is still continuing, the police say the cause of death is consistent with hypothermia.
Marie knew her son saw the world a little differently from a young age. He never seemed to have any best friends in elementary school, but she realized later that's because he tried to be friends with everyone. He also had an urge to explore. On one class trip to Isle of Mann, Marie said he came home with photos of the scenery.