A search for three missing people at Kouchibouguac National Park is now focused on finding the three boats they rented instead.
RCMP believe it could be a case of stolen property, said Cpl. Chantal Soucy, who is with the Richibucto detachment of the Southeast District.
“It could be, we can't confirm until we can either confirm or deny one of the two," she said.
"So right now, we had to make sure there was no boat or person found on any of the shores or dunes, so that's covered. And we know for sure there's nobody in that area, all the water sources were checked. We stopped the search at that point. We're still trying to determine who they were.”
Last week, RCMP asked for the public's assistance in finding a man, woman and a boy who had rented two kayaks and a canoe from the park.
The trio had rented the boats on June 30, at about 1:45 p.m., but failed to return the equipment.
Park officials conducted a preliminary search, then contacted the RCMP shortly before 10 p.m. to report there might be three people missing.
Cpl. Soucy says the individuals did leave a name with the rental company.
She declined to reveal the name, but said it's a common name for the area, which makes finding the individuals, and the unreturned boats, difficult.
Park officials have said no vehicle was located in the parking lot near the rental facility.
The man is described as being in his mid-30s, bald, with a beard and moustache. He speaks French with a local accent.
The woman is described as tall with a slim build, in her mid-30s, with prescription glasses.
The boy is 12 years old and described as having blond hair to his ears.
It is believed they may be from the Dieppe area.
A search was conducted on June 30 and July 1 by the RCMP, Fisheries and Oceans officials, a Coast Guard helicopter, and an auxiliary boat. Further boat patrols were made on July 2 by park wardens. There has been no sign of the missing trio.
Anyone with information about the possible whereabouts of the individuals, or their identities, is asked to contact the RCMP in Richibucto or Crime Stoppers at www.crimenb.ca.