After seven years of searching and chasing leads, the family of Owen Kiernan Rooney has finally gotten some closure.
The remains of the 24-year-old Australian man were found by the Grand Forks Search and Rescue Unit while they were doing a training exercise on Hardy Mountain. The remains were found at the foot of the mountain, an estimated three kilometres from where Rooney was last seen at the Boundary Hospital on Aug. 14, 2010.
Post-mortem testing, co-ordinated by the BC Coroners Service Special Investigations Unit, now has confirmed that those remains are Rooney's.
Rooney had been travelling around Canada and was living in Kelowna when he disappeared. He had gone to the Shambala Music Festival in Salmo and was returning to Kelowna through the Boundary Region. He stopped at a home in Christina Lake where he was assaulted at a party. Police picked him up and noticed he had a head wound, but followed his request and dropped him off at the bus station. However, he did not get on a bus. Instead, he decided to go to the hospital, where he spend the night. The next day, he disappeared from the hospital, leaving behind his backpack of personal belongings -- including his cell phone.
After he went missing, his family spent six months in the area, searching for Rooney and following all leads, before returning to Australia. They continued to search for him and used web-based connections to follow new leads and keep the search active.
The BC Coroners Service sent out a release on July 10th, stating that they had positively identified Rooney and that they are continuing to look into the cause and manner of his death.
The family of Rooney, announced on their public Facebook group on July 9th, that they had gathered together to receive this news and were taking solace in finally being able to bring Rooney home.