Australian family seeks son in Alberta

An Australian family has extended to Alberta its search for 24-year-old Owen Rooney, who has been missing since Aug. 15.

An Australian family has extended to Alberta its search for 24-year-old Owen Rooney, who has been missing since Aug. 15.

After weeks of searching for Rooney in B.C., where the young tourist walked out of a hospital after being treated for a head injury, the family is hoping some leads in Alberta might pan out.

The family plans to visit Calgary later in the week. Rooney's parents, who have left their jobs in Australia, are in B.C., where they've been looking for him since they found out he was missing.

"We definitely want to bring awareness to Alberta," said Sharon Rooney, Owen's mother. "It is a very strong possibility that he could have gone to Alberta."

Rooney had been badly beaten and was confused when he checked into a hospital in Grand Forks, B.C., on Aug. 14. He had been kicked in the head during a fight, was bleeding from his ears and had two black eyes.

He left some of his belongings at the hospital when he walked out.

"He was reported as hallucinating when he left the hospital," his mother said. "We really believe that really he is not connecting with who he is because this is a very strange thing for him to do. It's just so left-field."

Selling dream catchers

The family has heard reports that Rooney was with a group of people selling aboriginal dream catchers door-to-door in B.C. It was also told that a man matching his description was seen in Grande Prairie, Alta., earlier in December.

While police said the man in Grande Prairie was not Rooney, Sharon Rooney said she's also been told he was seen in Red Deer, Alta., and she feels he might have hitched a ride east.

There were Albertans in Grand Forks for a wedding on the night Owen disappeared, she said.

On Christmas Day, some of Rooney's brothers and sisters helped at a Salvation Army dinner in Vancouver, where they put up posters about their brother, then visited Hastings Street on the Lower East Side to try to find him.

"We're always looking," Sharon Rooney said.