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Search for missing hikers turns up no clues once again

Police News: Quiet Halloween, stun grenade found and commercial buses vandalized



Whistler police resumed the search for two hikers that went missing in the Pemberton area over three years ago, but have once again come up empty handed.

Vancouver residents Jonathan Jette and Rachel Bagnall have been missing since they left for a multi-day hike in the area around Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks in September 2010. No evidence has ever been found of their whereabouts despite repeated searches by police and rescue teams.

Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair joined two other officers and local search and rescue personnel last Monday, Oct. 28, combing a wooded area close to where the hikers were last seen, and found no evidence. Sgt. Rob Knapton said Whistler police conduct an annual search for Jette and Bagnall around this time of year.

"Especially when you search a wooded area like that, you can literally walk past evidence within five feet and not see it," Knapton said. "To be able to search effectively, you can only deal with small areas at a time."

Jette's father flew from Quebec in September to meet with RCMP and Lil'wat Nation officials to try and glean some clues as to the whereabouts of his son.

'Quiet' Halloween for Whistler police

For the second year in a row, Whistler RCMP enjoyed a relatively quiet Halloween, with only eight calls for service, according to Sgt. Rob Knapton.

"Halloween, honestly, was a very quiet and good evening for us here in Whistler," he said. "None of (the calls) was associated with Halloween per se. We had a couple of drunk people, which could be associated with Halloween but it's not unusual for us to deal with that anyway, we had a domestic (dispute), we had a landlord-tenant dispute, and a couple other minor things that came up and that's pretty much it."

Knapton said police received a similar number of calls for service on Halloween in 2012.

No charges were laid in the reported domestic dispute on Cavendish Way, which Knapton chalked up to "a misunderstanding" caused by the complainant overhearing an argument.

Charges were laid in a separate domestic incident on Saturday, Nov. 2, however, when police received a complaint of a dispute in progress on Village Stroll near Olympic Plaza. A 22-year-old man was observed attempting to assault his wife, and was arrested. The Maple Ridge man was later released, with a date to appear in court on assault charges. He is not permitted to contact the victim.

Apparent incendiary device found after staff party

An incendiary device known as a flash bang, which is a stun grenade commonly used by military and police personnel, was found following a staff party at a Whistler business on Sundial Place Friday, Nov. 1.

The device was found on the floor of the business the day after a Halloween staff party, Sgt. Rob Knapton said. Police seized the device and have since turned it over to the RCMP's explosive disposal unit to determine if it is incendiary, who may have brought it and how it ended up at the site.

"(Flash bangs) are dangerous especially when being handled by people who are unaware of their potential," said Knapton. "At the end of the day it's not a toy, and in the wrong hands it could seriously hurt or kill somebody."

Buses vandalized in two separate incidents

Police received a report on Friday, Nov. 1 of at least two buses that were vandalized overnight in Lot 7.

Officers collected evidence and continue their investigation.

In a separate incident Monday, Nov. 4, there was a report of vandalism and a theft from a bus parked on Glacier Drive.

It appears several items were missing from the bus, and a fire extinguisher was set off inside of the vehicle, Knapton said.

"The vehicle was left there for an extended period, so police are unaware of when the incident occurred," he added.

The investigation is ongoing.