Volunteers needed to help in expanded search for Owen Rooney

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
October 21st, 2010

Saturday morning, Oct. 23, Grand Forks Search and Rescue will lead a volunteer effort to locate missing Australian Owen Rooney. The 24-year-old went missing from Grand Forks on Aug. 14. His family and the Grand Forks detachment of the RCMP have been searching for clues as to his whereabouts since that date.   “Grand Forks Search and Rescue has volunteered to come out and search another area,” explained Grand Forks Staff Sergeant Jim Harrison. “They will be rallying at the three kilometer mark up the North Fork Road at 8:00 a.m. We’re going to search parts of the Trans Canada Trail leading north and both sides of North Fork Road for quite a distance.”   Harrison said they tried to search the area last Thursday from the air but it was too difficult with the tree cover. Rooney was last seen at the Boundary Hospital on Aug. 14. He was last seen at approximately 8:00 p.m. that evening sitting outside on a picnic table on the west side of the Boundary Hospital.   “One of our problems is we don’t really have a starting point other than the hospital,” said Harrison. “That area was initially searched right off the bat. Subsequent to that we expanded the search to Hardy Mountain, Copper Ridge, Observation Mountain, up into the Ward lake area as well, over all that area and had no luck with that. Now we’re going to take it from there and go farther north.”   Harrison said that when RCMP first encountered Rooney in August they offered to take him to the hospital for treatment as he had admitted he had been in a fight but did not want police involvement. Rooney asked instead to be taken to the bus depot to make his way home to Kelowna. He actually bought a bus ticket and got on the bus before stepping off again. He then went to the hospital where he was treated overnight. It was the next day that he disappeared leaving behind his personal belongings.   According to the RCMP, Rooney was living in Kelowna at the time of his disappearance and was gainfully employed in Kelowna. Checks with his employer also confirmed last known contact times and dates precede the date he was last seen on. RCMP inquiries have included all businesses and community agencies throughout the Kootenay and Boundary area along Highway 3 and Highway 33 and into Kelowna.   The RCMP has sought the assistance of external national and international agencies which include such agencies as Child Find Canada and Interpol. These external agencies will assist the RCMP in disseminating information Canada wide and abroad. Harrison said that there has been no evidence that Rooney has left the country.   Owen Rooney is described as 5’9″ and 160 lbs, very short brown hair, with bruising on his face. He was last seen wearing a dark T-shirt and 3/4 shorts.   “It’s a difficult thing because we don’t really know where to start. We’re making an assumption he might have headed that way. Assumptions – sometimes you’re lucky with those sometimes you’re not. In this particular case we’re hoping,” said Harrison. “This has been very strange, it’s almost like he walked off the face of the earth. The family is suffering terribly with the frustration of the whole thing.”   Volunteers wishing to aid in the search can report to the Search and Rescue base at the gravel pit across from the Boundary Horse Association at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. 

RCMP ask the general public to take note of the posters of Owen Rooney that have been distributed and posted in various communities and are requesting that anyone who may have seen Owen Rooney to contact the Grand Forks Office at 250-442-8288, their local police services or via Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.   

Categories: GeneralIssues