Missing American family wasn't prepared for trip, RCMP say

An American family has been found safe in northern B.C., days after they went missing and their car was found abandoned in the province.

Couple and their two small children found safe in B.C. after vanishing earlier this month

Jeffery Phan and Michelle Lesaca, along with their two children, crossed into B.C. on June 9, but disappeared shortly after. On Wednesday, RCMP said search and rescue crews found the family safe in northern B.C. (RCMP)

An American family that was found safe in northern B.C. days after they went missing may have underestimated the size of the province when planning their travels, the RCMP say. 

Jeffrey Phan and Michelle Lesaca, both 24, and their children — aged two and three — were found south of Dease Lake on Wednesday days after their car was found abandoned. 

The Oregon family had planned to travel to Alaska and camp along the way, Dease Lake RCMP said. 

The RCMP said the family was unaware of the distance involved and wasn't prepared for the trip.

'Great outcome'

Ragan Smith, a manager with Stewart Search & Rescue, said the family was taken into the care of RCMP on Wednesday and was being assessed by paramedics around 5 p.m. PT.

"I'm quite proud of our volunteers and the work they do," Smith said."It's a great outcome."

Smith said she couldn't say exactly where the family was found, as her team has spotty cell service and hasn't yet returned to base.

Her latest relayed message confirmed the family was with B.C. Ambulance.

The search was launched after the family's car was found abandoned in the Dease Lake area on Monday. It had been left with a note suggesting they'd gone to look for gas to fill the tank on June 10.​

Air searchers spotted four people who matched the family's description around 3 p.m. PT on Wednesday. RCMP said more resources were sent in to bring them to safety.

Mounties said the family had originally planned to travel to the Philippines and checked into the Portland airport on May 25, but later cancelled the ticket and decided not to board the plane.

Search and rescue workers scoured the area where the family's vehicle was found, from the air and the ground. The RCMP K9 team from Terrace was also brought in to help.

RCMP said there's no criminal investigation and that partner agencies are helping the family return home.


  • An earlier version of this story contained a map showing the route the family took via a border crossing near Vancouver. In fact, the family crossed the U.S./Canada border near Fernie, B.C. The map has been removed.
    Jun 21, 2018 8:04 AM PT