RCMP search for hikers likely to resume

Life like a 'bad dream' for mother of missing Vancouver man

More than 18 months after Jonathan Jette and Rachael Bagnall did not return from a hike in the Pemberton area, the RCMP is planning to conduct another search of the region where it's believe the duo went missing.

Jette, 34, and Bagnall, 25, have been missing since September 2010 and despite multiple searches near the Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks north of the village, few clues to Vancouver residents' whereabouts have been uncovered.

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The RCMP is hoping that will change, as Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair told The Question on Monday (April 23) that police have told the Jette family it will "examine the area again where (Jette's) vehicle was found."

Jette's vehicle was located north of Mount Currie on the Spetch Creek Forest Service Road on an initial search of the area. A pair of sunglasses that may have belonged to Bagnall were discovered around the same place and time, but it could not be confirmed if they were hers.

"We may use a police dog at this time," said LeClair. "I plan on speaking to (Pemberton Search and Rescue) to see if there is any suggestions they have regarding any areas of high probability that can be searched by Lower Mainland ERT (Emergency Response Team) members who have a climbing profile.

"If there are any such areas I will request the assistance of ERT to examine those areas."

LeClair said no dates for a future search have been set at this time for the hikers, who were on a multi-day hike in the area but were reported missing three days after they were due to return home. It is believed Jette and Bagnall had the necessary gear for their planned hike, but did not have climbing equipment, a GPS navigator, compass or map with them.

In a message to The Question sent Tuesday (April 24), Jette's mother, Lise Grenier, said the time since their disappearance has been like a "very bad dream" as no evidence of what happened to Jette and Bagnall has been located.

"They just vanished and everyone knows that is impossible; they have to be somewhere and we have to know where," Grenier wrote from her home in Montreal. "A part of me believes that Jonathan and Rachael are somewhere on the mountain and another part believes they are not there.

"I don't want them to be forgotten and become an unsolved mysterious disappearance."

Grenier was in Pemberton in August when two separate search parties went out looking for anything that might indicate what happened to the couple, but were unable to turn up anything.

"When I was at Valentine Lake (near the duo's hike route) last summer, I understood why Jonathan likes hiking and camping but I did not feel him there, I don't know why," she said. "I had a bigger feeling on the Spetch Creek FSR where they found his car in 2010.

"I don't know if there are any clues remaining in that area, but my feelings are that if something happened to Jonathan and Rachael, it had to be at the beginning or end of their trip."

LeClair said Pemberton Search and Rescue isn't planning additional searches at this time but have conducted training exercises in "areas of high probability" on the chance of discovering evidence, and may do so again in the future. However, there is no new information that is prompting another RCMP search of the area at this time, he added.

Grenier described her son as a cautious individual who would never have knowingly put himself and Bagnall in a dangerous situation. She said Jette was working "a very good job" and had just fulfilled a dream of his to buy an apartment in Vancouver at the time of his disappearance.

"Jonathan and Rachael love life and people. They smile all the time," said Grenier. "Jonathan always (said), 'There is a solution to every problem.'

"I miss him so much."

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