Vader not guilty in McCann case: sister

The sister of a man considered by RCMP as a person of interest says her brother, Travis Vader, had nothing to do with the disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann of St. Albert, Alta.

Vader's sister: 'I believe in my heart that he had nothing to do with the missing couple'

RCMP call Travis Edward Vader, pictured in an Edmonton courtroom drawing from July 27, a person of interest in the case of a missing couple from St. Albert, Alta. ((CBC))

The sister of a man considered by RCMP as a person of interest says her brother, Travis Vader, had nothing to do with the disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann of St. Albert, Alta.

Bobbi-Jo Vader made the comments to the media Tuesday after Travis Vader made a brief court appearance in Edmonton on three charges unrelated to the McCann investigation.

Vader, 38, who appeared in a courtroom for less than three minutes, is charged with breach of recognizance and breach of an undertaking both for drinking alcohol while on probation and failure to appear.

He is scheduled to be back in court Aug. 10.

"I just feel really sad for the guy. I just hope one day he gets his life straightened out," said Bobbi-Jo Vader, who was in the courtroom with her foster mother, Esther Rose McKay-Croswell.

"If you knew Travis as a person, you would know he would never harm — or do anything to — any innocent person. Travis is not like that, whatsoever. I believe in my heart that he had nothing to do with the missing couple."

Vader 'tired' and 'sick' during visit

Vader said her brother came to stay with them in Edmonton on July 4, a day after the McCanns were last seen. The couple's charred motorhome was discovered July 5.

"Travis did come to me in the city on the fourth to the ninth of July. And he stayed with Esther," Vader said. "He was tired and he was sick and he needed to rest."

Vader and another man were arrested before dawn July 19 in Niton Junction, about 150 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Both were to be interviewed about the disappearance of Lyle, 78 and Marie Ann, 77, who were last seen getting gas on July 3, shortly after they left their home in suburban Edmonton on their way to the Vancouver area.

Vader remains in custody

Vader will remain in custody in Edmonton. The other man, who police have not named, was released without any charges.

The McCanns' motorhome was found burned to a shell at a campground near Edson.

The missing-persons investigation didn't begin until five days later on July 10, when their daughter reported them missing after they didn't meet her as planned at the airport in Abbotsford, B.C.

Six days later, their Hyundai Tucson SUV, which they had been towing behind the motorhome, was found west of Edmonton.

Vader, who is from Niton Junction, has a criminal history dating back to 1995, when he was convicted of stealing a vehicle.

He was wanted on a number of outstanding warrants before being named a person of interest in the McCann case.

With files from The Canadian Press