Prime minister adds voice to those asking that search resume for hiker missing in B.C.
Justin Trudeau weighed in Wednesday on the search for the missing Vancouver software developer
With temperatures threatening to dip as low as –14 C in E.C. Manning Provincial Park in the next few days, there are growing calls — from as far as the Newfoundland legislature — to resume the search for Jordan Naterer.
Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Wednesday on the search for the missing Vancouver software developer, who is believed to have headed out for an overnight hike and never returned.
The 25-year-old's Newfoundland family have set up their own command post in B.C. and say there are new clues that point in a new direction.
On Wednesday, during question period in the Newfoundland and Labrador Legislature, the leader of the official opposition, Ches Crosbie, urged the government house leader to call for a resumption of the search.
"Concerns have been raised that the search was called off too soon and clues have surfaced," said Crosbie.
Hope search could resume
He was assured by Steve Crocker, Newfoundland's minister of justice and public safety, that his B.C. counterparts had responded Wednesday and said the search may be reactivated soon.
"We are extremely hopeful that the search will be restarted," Crocker said.
Later on Wednesday, Canada's prime minister even spoke about the search after being asked a question about it during a virtual town hall for Memorial University.
Jordan Naterer's father, Greg, is the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at the university.
Justin Dearing, a colleague of Greg Naterer's at the school, asked Justin Trudeau to add his voice to calls that the search be resumed.
"With deep compassion and humility may I ask if there is any way you or your staff might be able to encourage additional support in the search for Jordan?" Dearing asked.
Trudeau said he understands what the Naterer family is going through, referencing the search for his brother Michel Trudeau in 1998 after he was caught in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Park, B.C.
"I can't personally hear [Naterer's story] and not think about my little brother who was lost almost 25 years ago in beautiful mountains in B.C. and the efforts that went into trying to find him and how I felt when the search was called off," he said.
Trudeau said he has deep compassion for the family and promised to look into the search, although he admitted he would have little influence, even as prime minister, for a local undertaking.
"But I can certainly ask about it and try to see if there isn't something that I can nudge a little bit," he said.
Vancouver police Const. Tania Visintin said Wednesday there is a tentative plan to resume the search using a VPD drone on Thursday.
In the meantime, Naterer's mother Josie is also urging people to head to the park to help hunt, especially if anybody has search dogs or bush know-how.
"We are frustrated. We felt that the RCMP and the Vancouver police have given up on us. We've had evidence that they've dismissed. I don't know how they can dismiss this evidence. We can't give up on this brilliant 25-year-old man who has his life ahead of him and he can contribute so much more," said Josie Naterer, her voice cracking with emotion in a call to CBC on Wednesday.
Her son was last seen Oct. 10 in Vancouver, but police suspect he may have headed 175 kilometres east to hike in Manning Provincial Park.
It's believed he was carrying a large olive-green backpack and was wearing white runners. His car was found at a trailhead, sparking an extensive search, but that was suspended on Saturday.
On Sunday, his father Greg Naterer said his son's hat and glasses were discovered on Frosty Peak. Now his mother says that a local tracker has turned up two clumps of synthetic down.
She says the tracker, Clayton Braaksma, collected them, one with a dark brown human eyelash embedded, a few kilometres south of Monument Trail 78 — not 83 where it's believed the search focused earlier. The tracker estimated the fabric had been on the trail about four days.
Josie Naterer says her missing son often used such material to create crafts.
"That's Jordan's. And Jordan doesn't sew. He staples things together, so we think what he did was he stapled a pillow together and probably heard something. It could have been a plane going across or probably the helicopters and then just started waving. They didn't see him because this is outside of the search and rescue area."
Naterer was reported missing Oct. 13. Police found the young man's black Honda Civic at the Frosty Mountain trailhead. A five-day search of the park failed to find him.
In an email, VPD's Visintin explained that the exhaustive helicopter and ground search was suspended until new leads were found. She said a missing persons file is active and a tip line has been established.
She said the possible Thursday drone search is an option due to a "safe weather window." She said the plan is to re-search specific areas that have already been covered.
Former colleagues at jSonar, a company that Naterer worked at as a software developer after graduating from the University of British Columbia, have raised $31,000 to help with the hunt. It's since been increased to $63,000 by Imperva, a company that's acquired jSonar.
Meanwhile, Naterer's family are continuing to plead for police to reactivate the official search. A tip line for leads on Jordan's disappearance has been set up at 604-717-2530.