The man whose remains were found on June 10, 2017 at the base of Hardy Mountain in Grand Forks is considered to have died of undetermined causes, a March 2, 2020 coroner’s report says.
According to the report, 24-year-old Australian Owen Kiernan Rooney was reported missing to RCMP on August 14, 2010, after he left the Boundary District Hospital, prior to being discharged. He left the hospital that evening without his belongings, the Coroners Service said at the time. Rooney had been hitchhiking back to Kelowna after a trip to Shambhala Music Festival.
Rooney had been admitted to the hospital the day before he went missing with facial injuries apparently sustained in an altercation near Christina Lake. The electrician told staff that he had consumed psychedelic mushrooms and could not sleep. He was fed and given medication at the hospital and got some sleep. But hospital staff reported last seeing him at 6:15 p.m., just over six hours after he arrived. By 8 p.m., staff had contacted the RCMP, as per Interior Health’s Code Yellow missing patient search protocol.
The coroner’s report says that RCMP considered Rooney to be missing and conducted patrols of the area. Grand Forks Search and Rescue also did ground searches, but turned up nothing.
The search for Rooney continued years after his disappearance, with many locals and travellers sharing messages of support for the Rooney family as well as pictures of his missing persons poster in the Facebook group.
Rooney’s remains were found by Grand Forks Search and Rescue on June 10 when they were conducting a routine training exercise.
A post mortem exam revealed that Rooney had sustained fractures to his sternum and one rib, at or near time of death on Aug. 14, 2010.
Grand Forks RCMP said Monday that Rooney’s death has been ruled an accident and that no foul play is suspected.
With files from Kathleen Saylors