Human remains were discovered in the Lake Cowichan area on Saturday, Dec. 23, but, although there is speculation in the community that it may be Darreld Rayner, missing for 10 years, the Coroner’s service is still investigating.
Rayner, a Lake Cowichan resident and member of the Youbou TimberLess Society, went missing in 2007, and no trace of what happened to him has ever been found, although friends and family have never given up hope of finding him.
“I can tell you the Coroners Service has been called to investigate found human remains at Lake Cowichan last week but at this stage we have not determined the identity of the decedent,” said Andy Watson of the BC Coroners Service. “In order to determine the identity of the deceased, we will be doing some testing of samples (per normal procedure).”
Watson said it may take about a month for testing.
Dewi Griffiths, president and a search leader for Cowichan Search and Rescue, said “the Saturday, Dec. 23 recovery was to assist RCMP and Coroner, but I’m not sure we can comment other than to say our team performed a difficult task with professionalism and dedication in tricky, snowy conditions.”
The details of Rayner’s disappearance are sketchy.
On May 7, 2007, Rayner, who was 52 years old at the time, went missing while walking his dog.
He was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. walking along Fairservice Main logging road, roughly three kilometers from his home. Beginning that afternoon, an extensive search was conducted by RCMP and local Search and Rescue crews, with the assistance of family and volunteers.
Rayner’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was found that night by searchers, as was a coffee cup belonging to Rayner.
An intensive search, which included the use of tracking dogs and helicopters, covered that area thoroughly. The search went on for several days, and more than 3,400 search hours were expended.
Even after the official search ended, the family and other volunteers continued to search for Rayner in the area south of Lake Cowichan for several more months, never giving up hope that their family member and friend would be found.