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Search continues; RCMP ask the public to quash rumour mill

Police are asking residents to handle rumours responsibly as Day Four of the search for 19-year-old Zachary Larsen continues.

Helicopters and numerous Search and Rescue water craft searched again yesterday, but found nothing, so a ground search was organized for today, beginning this morning in Millennium Park.

Roughly 100 volunteers showed up to help look for the young man, splitting into teams of eight, with each team led by a trained Search and Rescue person.

They combed the area around Millennium Park, and are now knocking on every door in the downtown area, while other teams are focussing more on the Robson area, conducting a ground search on the route to the house of one of Larsen's friends.

Nothing has been found ... but RCMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew said rumours and Facebook postings indicating a body was found, and another indicating Larsen was found, alive and well, are circulating back to the young man's family and causing unneccessary pain and anxiety.

“All we ask is that, if you hear something or have a question, please call the detachment ...we'll confirm or deny it,” she said. “It is getting back to the family, and it is upsetting for them.”

While The Source does not typically report on, or respond in print to, rumours, it was agreed that an exception should be made in this case to set the record straight and quell some of the more virulent stories making the rounds in Castlegar.

The only possession of Larsen's that has been found so far was a pair of jeans he was thought to have been wearing the day he went missing – contrary to rumours, they found no shoes, no note and no blood, Mathew said.

“There's nothing to indicate foul play at this stage,” she said, adding that shoes and a note found in Trail in a separate case, which police believe may be a suicide situation, have no relation to Larsen. “They (the shoes) were found way, way before he went missing.”

She said there is no information whatsoever to indicate Larsen was suicidal oreven depressed.

Larsen's jeans, she added, are not as ominous a finding as many people have assumed.

“He had changed his clothes, into a T-shirt, shorts and a hoody, and was carrying a bag with his clothing in it, and a witness said the bag was crammed full and stuff was falling out,” she said.

She said police are receiving and following up on many phone calls from helpful residents.

Mathew said she'll provide media updates as the investigation continues.

She reiterated her request that anyone following the story contact police with any questions they have, or to confirm any new information they have been given, and to please refrain from Facebook posting and other means of information-sharing without first speaking to police.

“Whatever it is you've heard, we can confirm or deny it,” she said.

The Castlegar RCMP detachment can be reached at 250-365-7721