Edmonton

Man seen in Alta. not missing Australian

The family of Owen Rooney, an Australian man who went missing four months ago after suffering a brain injury, hit another dead end Monday when police said a man spotted in Grande Prairie, Alta. was not Rooney.

Head-injured 24-year-old missing since leaving B.C. hospital 4 months ago

The family of Owen Rooney, an Australian man who went missing four months ago after suffering a brain injury, hit another dead end Monday when police said a man spotted in Grande Prairie, Alta. was not Rooney.

Rooney, 24, walked out of a hospital in Grand Forks, B.C., in August and has not been heard from since.

Last week, a number of people in the Grande Prairie region told RCMP they saw a man matching Owen's description selling dream catchers and wind chimes door-to-door.

RCMP now say that person is not Rooney.

Grande Prairie is about 440 kilometres northwest of Edmonton and about 1,000 kilometres north of Grand Forks.

'He was coming home'

Rooney's parents have been in B.C. since he went missing. They left heir jobs in Australia and are now searching full time, along with their two daughters.

"It is just totally out of character for him to do anything like this," said his mother, Sharron Rooney, from Vancouver on Sunday. "He was travelling with his sisters. They have a close relationship.

"He was talking to me on Facebook telling me he was coming home two days before he went missing."

Rooney had been badly beaten and was confused when he checked into hospital in Grand Forks, B.C., on Aug. 14, but he walked out of the facility after staying one night.

He had been kicked in the head during a fight and had two black eyes and was bleeding from his ears.

"He's our son," said Sharron Rooney. "He is in trouble. He is a wonderful kid, and he has come from a very, very loving family. His aunts, uncles, his cousins are all waiting for him for Christmas."

'Shakes you to your bones'

Over the last four months, the family heard reports that Rooney is with a group of people selling aboriginal dream catchers door-to-door through B.C.

His father and sisters flew to Grande Prairie last week from B.C. after hearing from a woman who said Rooney came to her door, said Sharron Rooney.

They hoped that Rooney might also try to visit a friend of his in Grande Prairie.

The family said they will continue to search for Rooney until he is found.

"You don't ever get used to it," said Sharon Rooney. "It shakes you to your bones to think that your son may be injured. That's why you fight so hard."

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