B.C. missing man still not in RCMP database
Three years since Owen Rooney, 24, vanished in Grand Forks
The mother of an Australian man who vanished from a hospital in Grand Forks, B.C., three years ago wonders why her son is still not listed on the RCMP’s national database of missing persons.
CBC News has learned police at the rural detachment only heard last month about CanadasMissing.ca, set up in January to assist RCMP in locating missing persons across the country.
Sharron Rooney says she is upset to discover her son Owen Rooney's file is missing.
"Is it up to us to make sure it's on all the government authorities? Gee, it would be good to have some help with that," Rooney said.
When CanadasMissing.ca went live at the start of the year, the RCMP said cases would be added to the site by request of investigators.
"We were just advised by B.C. Missing Person's section on July 24 that this site exists, and we were given instructions on how we can get him added to that site," said Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison, detachment commander in Grand Forks.
Harrison says the detachment is now working to translate Rooney’s file into French — a requirement of the system — after which both versions will be posted online.
Today marks three years since Rooney vanished.
The 24-year-old checked himself into Boundary Hospital after suffering a bad reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms at the Shambhala Music Festival. He had also been beaten in nearby Christina Lake on his way back to Kelowna.
After an overnight stay, Rooney mysteriously left the hospital, leaving his backpack, cell phone and wallet behind.
An Interior Health internal investigation showed the hospital should have done more to help the depressed young man, like notifying social services and calling his family.
Sharron Rooney spent eight months in B.C. trying to track him down after he disappeared. She has since returned to Australia but is still looking for leads.
"The family is asking for resolution," she said.
"We love Owen absolutely to the maximum. We don't care what information it is — it can be as good as bad or — nothing that anybody can tell us will be any worse than what we've imagined."
Rooney is described as being five feet eleven inches tall and with a 'Made In Australia' tattoo on his right leg.
Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP.
With files from the CBC’s Luke Brocki and Belle Puri