Vancouver Sun

Ques­tions per­sist af­ter Van­cou­ver Is­land man’s body found decade later

- CINDY E. HARNETT Crime · Incidents · Vancouver Island · Vancouver · Vancouver Island · British Columbia · Jack Russell · Royal Canadian Mounted Police · Victoria City · Rick Rose · Youbou

The decade-old mys­tery VIC­TO­RIA of the where­abouts of a 52-yearold Van­cou­ver Is­land man who dis­ap­peared in May 2007 dur­ing a morn­ing walk in the woods has been solved, but ques­tions re­main.

The re­mains of Lake Cowichan’s Dar­reld Stan­ley Rayner, an ex­pe­ri­enced bush­man who spent his life in the area, were iden­ti­fied by the B.C. Coroners Ser­vice. They were found on Dec. 22, 2017, in a steep and se­cluded area near South Shore Road, a for­est ser­vice road.

“We never did give up hope,” el­dest son Rick Rose said Tues­day.

In­ter­est in the case com­pelled the coroners ser­vice on Tues­day to re­lease the iden­tity of the hu­man re­mains be­fore de­ter­min­ing a cause of death. For that rea­son, the fam­ily has only par­tial clo­sure, Rose said.

“There is clo­sure in the fact that we know where he is … noth­ing will be com­plete un­til we have all the info.”

Rayner told his son on May 7, 2007, that he planned to take his usual walk in the woods with his Jack Rus­sell ter­rier, Al­lie. Rose never saw his fa­ther again.

Within hours of not re­turn­ing, the fam­ily be­came con­cerned, re­ported Rayner miss­ing to the RCMP, and started to look for him.

An ac­quain­tance re­ported see­ing Rayner, who worked at the Youbou sawmill for 27 years, about one kilo­me­tre from the trail­head that he would have likely taken. Po­lice found Rayner’s cof­fee cup at the trail­head, be­hind the fam­ily home. Al­lie was found that evening, run­ning on a log­ging road.

The RCMP search — which in­cluded a heli­copter, track­ing dogs and vol­un­teer searchers — ended four days later.

Rose was grate­ful for the ef­forts, but at the time didn’t think enough was done. For an ag­o­niz­ing three weeks, he searched and searched. He vowed the fam­ily would never give up.

“Un­til we find out what hap­pened, we’ve got to keep go­ing,” Rose told the Times Colonist in 2007.

“I’m just flab­ber­gasted,” Rayner’s wife, Hinke, said at the time. “Some­thing must have hap­pened for him to not come home.”

Weeks later, a body was pulled out of the Cowichan River. It wasn’t Rayner.

As hope dwin­dled, the fam­ily’s search ef­forts were re­duced to week­ends.

Rayner’s birth­day on July 14, 2007, just over two months af­ter he went miss­ing, was seen by the fam­ily as a sym­bolic day to scale back their search.

Over the next three years, about 20 wit­nesses were in­ter­viewed and numer­ous leads were fol­lowed, said po­lice. Log­ging changed the area but no body was found.

“We have been plagued with ru­mours and ques­tions,” Rose said.

When the body was found in De­cem­ber, Brent Rayner re­called how his dad was gen­er­ous and funny and did ev­ery­thing to pro­vide for his fam­ily — do­ing any odd job he could find af­ter the Youbou mill shut down and keep­ing the fi­nan­cial hard­ship to him­self.

The coroners ser­vice is still work­ing to de­ter­mine a cause of death, spokesman Andy Wat­son said. Po­lice said foul play is not sus­pected.

Rayner leaves be­hind his wife, Hinke, chil­dren Rick, Melissa, Jeff and Brent, and five grand­chil­dren.

 ?? CRIMESTOP­PERS ?? B.C. Coroners Ser­vice has iden­ti­fied Lake Cowichan’s Dar­reld Stan­ley Rayner, miss­ing since May 2007, as the dead man lo­cated in a se­cluded area near Cowichan Lake on Dec. 22, 2017.
CRIMESTOP­PERS B.C. Coroners Ser­vice has iden­ti­fied Lake Cowichan’s Dar­reld Stan­ley Rayner, miss­ing since May 2007, as the dead man lo­cated in a se­cluded area near Cowichan Lake on Dec. 22, 2017.

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