Jonathan Jette’s father has been in the Pemberton area over the past couple of weeks as he continues to seek clues about what happened to his son three years ago.
Vancouver residents Jette and Rachael Bagnall have not been located since they left for a multi-day hike in the area around Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks in September 2010, and repeated searches of the area they were believed to be in have turned up no evidence of their whereabouts. Jette and Bagnall were added to the National Missing Person list earlier this year.
Jette’s father, Jean-Guy, and a family friend spent time meeting with RCMP and Lil’wat Nation officials during their visit from Quebec. Speaking for the family via email, Jette’s brother Miguel said they were able to search some areas not searched before that were identified as potentially dangerous by band officials. However, the recent searches again turned up no signs of the missing couple.
“We basically want to cover as many places as we can,” said Miguel Jette. “Unfortunately, nothing much has happened in the past week but we’ve eliminated some more places. Every search is positive, even when there is no outcome.”
Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair of the Whistler RCMP said the Jette family has inquired about installing permanent signs at the Cassiope-Saxifrage trailhead that asks hikers to keep their eye out for anything that could be associated to Jette and Bagnall.
Earlier this summer, police sent out a request to anyone hiking through the Spetch Creek, Valentine Lake and Cassiope-Saxifrage areas to be on the lookout for abandoned camping gear or clothing. Updated posters have also been circulated in recent months.
“We’ve posted those posters in various stores in Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Mount Currie and D’Arcy,” said LeClair.
“We intend to hopefully get up and do a day search again up in the area.”
LeClair said he went over the file in “great detail” with Jean-Guy Jette upon his arrival in B.C. and has committed to keeping the family up-to-date on any possible leads in the case.
The Jette family is also looking to enlist a private company specializing in topography analysis to conduct aerial searches of the region, with the hope of identifying some new locations to investigate.
Miguel Jette said the Lil’wat Nation has been “wonderful” in assisting the family’s search.
“They know the mountain inside and out,” he said. “They’ve even gone on a few day and multi-day hikes themselves searching for clues. They have been amazingly supportive … (and) when they have ideas, they send us notes.”
Even if more formal searches of the area take place, LeClair is hopeful that members of the public will be able to provide some information as well.
“We know that people do hike in that area, and there are also people that go berry picking and mushroom picking in the area around there. Those people are going to be our best chance of finding something,” he said.
“It’s a missing persons case so it’s never closed until the people are found … and we’ll actively investigate any tips that come in.”
Miguel Jette said he and his family “speculate all the time” about what happened to his brother and Bagnall, but that they have no plans to give up the search.
“I know we haven’t found anything, but we always keep hope,” he said. “We have a ton of ideas of what to do next. We won’t stop until we find them.
“We keep hope. We keep searching. Every place we visit is another place crossed off the long list.
For more on the ongoing efforts to find the missing couple, visit the ‘Jonathan Jette and Rachel Bagnall’ page on Facebook.