'We need to bring Frances home': family keeps looking for missing mushroom picker after RCMP call off search
Frances Brown, 53, went missing Oct. 14 in heavy forest north of Smithers, B.C.
The official search for missing mushroom picker Frances Brown has been suspended eight days after it began in northwestern B.C., but family and friends continue to explore dense backcountry.
Cpl. Madonna Saunderson of the RCMP confirmed searchers did not find any new clues over the weekend. Nineteen search and rescue teams from across B.C. were involved in the effort, the largest in northern B.C. in many years.
The 53-year-old became lost on Oct. 14 in heavy forest between Smithers and Hazelton after she was separated from her picking companion.
Evidence of a campfire was discovered early on in the search, but rain and snow hampered the effort.
Saunderson said the search would resume if new information or clues surfaced.
'Frances is out there'
Family and friends said they will continue to look for Brown, despite the official search being called off.
"Frances is out there and we need closure for the family," said grandnephew David de Wit.
He said around 15 people will revisit "high probability" areas covered by the official search, as well as some outside the boundaries already covered by crews.
De Wit described his aunt, who was raised by a trapper, as an experienced backcountry explorer who spent decades searching for mushrooms in difficult terrain.
"She's pretty familiar with the bush and travel and survival," he said.
"We need to bring Frances home."