British Columbia

Missing men mystery: Family wonders if disappearances of 4 men somehow linked

Family of missing Spences Bridge resident Luke Neville says there are similarities that should be investigated.

Family of missing Spences Bridge man says there are similarities that should be investigated

Missing men from left to right: Luke Neville, Richard Scurr, Ryan Provencher and Ben Tyner. (RCMP)

The family of a man who vanished without a trace in Spences Bridge almost two years ago says there are parallels to the case of two missing Surrey men that the RCMP should be investigating. 

Luke Neville was last seen in Spences Bridge on Oct. 9, 2017. His burned out white van was found on a nearby forest service road the following day. 

Surrey men Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17. Their white Jeep Cherokee was discovered abandoned on a forest service road near Logan Lake.

Speaking from Ottawa, Mark Neville said when he heard about Provencher and Scurr, he was struck by how similar the circumstances were to his brother's disappearance. 

Luke Neville was last seen in Spences Bridge Oct. 9, 2017. He vanished without a trace and his burned out van was found on a nearby forest road one day later. (Submitted by the Neville Family)

"Logan Lake is only 50 kilometres as the crow flies from Spences Bridge," said Neville. "Their vehicle was found on a forest service road and [we] read that they were headed to Spences Bridge ... I mean, it just sounds so familiar."

Neville believes the case of missing cowboy Ben Tyner should also be looked into for possible connections.

Tyner vanished from the Merritt area in January after riding into the hills to look for cattle. His abandoned horse was found fully saddled on a forest service road northwest of Merritt two days later. 

"Again, it's only 50 to 60 kilometres from Spences Bridge," said Neville. "I keep hoping every day that the police would call and say we're starting to connect all the dots. But no, I haven't heard anything from the police about if there's any commonality between the cases. But I feel that there is —that's just my gut."

Interactive map of missing men

Surrey RCMP are leading the Provencher and Scurr investigation. According to spokeswoman Cpl. Elenore Sturko, the three cases are being investigated separately.

"None of the investigative team has indicated to me at this point any links to other open investigations," said Sturko. "That being said, you know we always look for linkages."

Sturko said Surrey RCMP investigators are working to create a timeline of Provencher and Scurr's movements in the days before they disappeared. She said Provencher had an interest in an unidentified business in Spences Bridge that took him there often.

Luke Neville, far right, shown with his brothers Paul, Mark and Peter. All were professional firefighters at one time. (Submitted by the Neville family)

In April, members of the RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit were back in the Merritt area searching for any trace of Tyner. They have said very little about his disappearance except that they believe there is criminality involved.

From missing to murder 

The RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit is also in charge of Luke Neville's case and has classified his disappearance as suspicious.

Janelle Shoihet, speaking on behalf of the unit, said police are not at liberty to divulge evidence they have gathered but says investigators are confident that Luke's disappearance was not the result of a random predator. 

Mark Neville beside the billboard he erected at the side of the highway in Spences Bridge asking for tips about his brother's disappearance. (Submitted by the Neville family)

"Investigators of all the mentioned cases have been in communication with each other and there is nothing to suggest that these missing persons cases are related," said Shoihet. 

Mark Neville says he can't help but be frustrated by the lack of progress on his brother's case, so much so that in January he travelled to Spences Bridge to erect a sign at the side of the highway asking for tips.

Over a large photo of Luke it reads "someone knows something."

"Police told us people in the Spences Bridge area, they know what happened, but they're not talking," he said.

Last June, the Neville family convinced the RCMP to bring in a cadaver dog to search the area but nothing was found.

The family also maintains a website "Searching for Luke Neville" and is planning a drone search of the Spences Bridge area.

Mark Neville says not knowing his brother's ultimate fate has been excruciating.

"It's been awful," said Neville. "Our mother is elderly and she'd like to know before she leaves this world. "He's gone and we've accepted that fact, but we'd still like to know what happened."

Luke Neville's white van was found burned out on the Sackum Forest Service Road Oct. 10, 2017, the day after he disappeared. (RCMP)

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