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Search for missing person in Sooke suspended following large-scale effort

The search for a missing person in Sooke has been suspended following a large-scale effort where nearly 200 search and rescue volunteers pitched in to help.

Mellissa McDevitt has been missing since Dec. 9, with her vehicle found in Sooke at the Charters River/Hatchery parking lot on Sooke Road on Dec. 10.

A ground search was launched by Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue along with Sooke RCMP, and video footage located on Dec. 11 showed McDevitt as she entered the trails from the parking lot.

The 38-year-old woman was wearing a burgundy-coloured long-sleeved top, blue pants and carrying two hiking poles.

A search last weekend saw multiple search and rescue teams descend on the area. Comox Valley Search and Rescue was a part of the operation. President Paul Barry said 170 searchers were working in very challenging terrain.

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“Sooke Potholes is a very difficult environment to search. There’s a lot of cliff bands and very thick vegetation that can conceal even searchers in high visibility clothing,” said Barry.

“It was a very thorough, painstaking search attempting to look under every branch, behind every log, anywhere that Melissa could have sought shelter in the storm that she was caught in on Dec. 9.”

Despite their efforts, Barry says there were not any clues found to suggest where McDevitt could be.

RCMP and the family of McDevitt say they are thankful for all the efforts in trying to locate her.

“The Sooke RCMP, along with Ms. McDevitt’s family, wish to extend their sincere appreciation to Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, along with over 17 other assisting search and rescue agencies from across Vancouver Island and other parts of British Columbia, for their significant search efforts over the last nine days,” said acting Sooke RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Kevin Shaw.

Sooke RCMP ask anyone with information to call their office at 250-642-5241.

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Barry adds the operation showed the community and the efforts search and rescue teams are willing to put in to find someone in need.

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