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Private search resumes for hikers missing for one year

RCMP follows up on witness tip of unusual bird activity in backcountry

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The answer of what happened to missing hikers Rachel Bagnall and Jonathan Jette lies somewhere in the Pemberton backcountry.

Almost one year after they disappeared, private searchers will again be looking for clues as a weeklong search is launched in the Saxifrage and Cassiope peaks area north of Mount Currie.

The volunteers search from August 18-27. Neither the RCMP nor BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) are officially involved in the search

"I miss my son every minute and I cry every night," said Jette's mother Lise Grenier in a press release.

Jette, 34 and girlfriend Bagnall, 25, left from Vancouver on Saturday, September 4, 2010 for a two to three day hike in the area. They were reported missing five days later.

Police found their car on the Spetch Creek Forest Service Road about 14 kilometres north of the Mount Currie new site (Xit'olacw) the day after they were reported missing.

Despite hundreds of volunteer hours from RCMP and BCSARA volunteers at the time, neither the couple nor any of their gear has been found to date.

This week RCMP followed up on another tip after a witness reported unusual bird activity in the area.

"That could indicate the presence of human remains," said Whistler RCMP Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair.

Police coordinated a helicopter with the guidance of the witness and pinpointed where the bird activity was but LeClair said it doesn't appear to be a likely spot for the hikers.

In addition to the private searchers the family has hired three professional Association of Canadian Mountain Guides to search the technical terrain including crevasses and steep drainages.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call Tim Lee at 604-866-0688 but searchers must be experienced and equipped to deal with the terrain.

"Everybody we've interviewed has experienced difficulty maintaining their bearings in this terrain," said LeClair.

"We are urging extreme caution."

Financial donations for the search effort can be made at any Bank of Montreal, account #0215-001-3997-736 (Gaston Grenier in trust Jonathan Jette) or with Paypal at ggrenier@misatours.ca.

 

 

 

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