What happened to Dean Kelly Morrison?
Three years after his mysterious disappearance a search is about to start up again
Three years after his mysterious disappearance, the search for Dean Kelly Morrison is about to start up again on a ranch near Kamloops, B.C.
Morrison was last seen at the Stump Lake Ranch on Oct. 22, 2013, and extensive searches at the time failed to turn up any clues as to his whereabouts.
"We just don't know what happened. It's a complete mystery," said his mother Elizabeth Faber from her home in Vancouver on Wednesday.
She recalls the 44-year-old father of three was going through a difficult time. He'd just lost his job on the ranch as a painter and had recently separated from his wife.
On the day he disappeared he was in the process of moving his broken-down truck and trailer to his sister's place, where he occasionally stayed on his days off.
Since then Faber has searched the area around Stump Lake Ranch many times, without finding any clues about what happened to her son.
"For me it's a bit like visiting a cemetery or a grave site because it's the last known place that Dean was," she said on Tuesday.
Private investigator steps in
Faber never gave up the search for answers and a few months ago a private investigator offered to help look for Morrison.
That investigator is Denis Gagnon, who says he's offered to relaunch the investigation for free.
"I feel for the mother. It's a very interesting story," said Gagnon on Wednesday shortly after returning from a preliminary trip to the Stump Lake Ranch.
Morrison was active in politics and ran twice for the NDP in Langley. He also was a reporter and editor at two Merritt newspapers.
Gagnon says he's starting from scratch with the investigation and is trying to reconstruct the events on the day Morrison disappeared.
In particular, he is curious about how Morrison vanished without anyone noticing sometime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and he has already conducted two interviews with people who were on the ranch that day, he said.
"It's a very large property. Its a bit unclear where Dean went during that short time frame. He didn't disappear in the middle of the night."
"Right now I'm 50-50 if he walked away or if he is still there. We don't have a lead at this point."
Search effort organized
For her part Faber doubts her son decided to just walk away from his life.
"If he is alive and went somewhere, it is against his nature not to be in touch with his family," she says. "My feeling is he died somehow."
Gagnon says he is ruling nothing out at this point and his next step is organizing a new search with teams from Kamloops and the Nicola Valley on July 16.
He says the 2600-hectare ranch is mostly open country so a drone might be used, but the area has a number of lakes, cliffs and wildlife which will make the search more challenging.
Meanwhile Morrison's mother says she will take the bus up to Kamloops once again to search for her son.
"I just really want to know what happened to Dean. You can't move on with your life when somebody is missing ... and it seems to be getting harder, not easier," said Faber.
"Sometimes I actually feel a little bit of peace just being there because I feel a little closer to him."
Gagnon says anyone who wishes to assist in the search can contact investigators 604-922-6572.
To hear the audio, click the link: Interview with Dennis Gagnon regarding search for Dean Morrison
With files from Chantelle Bellrichard