Ben Kilmer’s wedding anniversary passed on June 1 with still no sign of the missing 41 year-old from Cobble Hill.
Family friend Shannon Wiest, who has known Kilmer’s wife Tonya for 16 years, is helping in the ongoing search from Ottawa, where she works as a communications strategist with the federal government.
Tonya has appointed her as the spokeswoman for the family while the search for her husband continues.
Wiest said the disappearance of Kilmer on May 16, and the fact there are still no concrete leads as to what has happened to him, is a “surreal experience” for Tonya and the family.
“It gets more heart wrenching as every day goes by for Tonya and their two young children,” Wiest said.
“The children are wondering if their daddy is safe and when he is coming home. Tonya is one of the strongest women I have ever met and, along with Ben, they are the most intuitive and strategic-thinking couple that I know and that has served them well over their marriage.”
Kilmer’s work van was found parked along Cowichan Lake Road, west of Menzies Road, on the morning of May 16.
The electrician’s vehicle was empty but the engine was still running.
Blood was later found in the vehicle and in a treed area nearby.
Despite extensive searches of the area since then, combined with a flyer campaign that has seen more than 70,000 flyers plastered all over the mid-Island region asking for any information on Kilmer’s disappearance, there are still no concrete leads to date as to what has happened to him.
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Weist said Tonya and both sides of the family, including Ben’s and Tonya’s parents, are working hard to deal with the challenges they have faced since Kilmer’s disappearance, and the outpouring of support from the community to assist the family has been “tremendous”.
“People have been working hard to assist us in the ongoing search and we’re encouraging the public to continue with that support,” she said.
“We’re continuing the search with the strong confidence that Ben will be found. Giving up is not an option, but it’s frustrating for all involved that there are still no leads as to what happened to Ben.”
Weist commended the RCMP for their work so far in the investigation and said the family feels that the authorities are carrying out a competent investigation into the case.
“We have a great respect for the role of the police as professional investigators, and we’re comfortable knowing they are doing all they can to find Ben,” she said.
“The family and friends are doing everything they can to assist the police in this investigation.”
As for the use of a psychic in the investigation’s early days, Weist said the psychic is a family friend who knows Kilmer well.
“We’re looking at any information that we can get to try to find Ben,” she said.
“The police and us are going through all the information we receive methodically and strategically and we’re prepared to listen to any information that people have to offer.”
Weist said Kilmer is a loving father and husband who always looks at his family with “pure adoration in his eyes”.
“He is a kind and friendly person who is always there when you need help, and he easily makes you laugh,” she said.
“His absence is certainly felt and the family is so grateful to the community and all the volunteers that are working so hard to find Ben. We don’t know where the lead will come from that will help us finally find Ben, so we hope the community stays involved and informed and offers us whatever help and information they can.”
Kilmer is described as five-foot-10 and 180 pounds, with short brown hair and blue eyes.
When last seen, he was clean-shaven and wearing light-coloured pants, a black shirt and steel-toed work boots.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Benjamin Kilmer, contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).