Members of the South Columbia Search and Rescue team combed the West Kootenay for Craig Reichmuth last week.

Members of the South Columbia Search and Rescue team combed the West Kootenay for Craig Reichmuth last week.

Missing Fruitvale man found dead after two-day search

A Fruitvale man who was reported missing early on Wednesday morning was found dead two days later by search and rescue members.

A Fruitvale man who was reported missing early on Wednesday morning was found dead two days later by search and rescue members.

Craig Reichmuth, 64, left his home early on Aug. 14 and did not return.

It didn’t take long for word of his disappearance to spread as friends and family began searching for Craig on Wednesday, Aug. 15. But the group had no success and finally contacted the Trail RCMP at 1 p.m. to file a missing person’s report.

Reichmuth’s family told police that he touched base frequently and they were concerned by his absence, considering he may have had an existing medical condition.

After the report was made a group of 24 responders from the South Columbia Search and Rescue (SCSR) team combed every road from Creston to Christina Lake over a two-day period, with some re-tracing the steps the family had taken initially.

SCSR president Ron Medland said 15 civilians registered to aid the search for Reichmuth, but saw about 40 people helping instead.

“We were searching until dark and came up with nothing and then we were back at it on Friday morning,” he said about the Thursday search, adding that the search became more organized on Friday.

The search was quickly narrowed from the West Kootenay to Bear Creek near Trail after the rescue team found Craig’s 2007 silver Toyota Tacoma truck.

“And that changed the whole dynamic of the search because I could tell the air search people that they were no longer required because we focused on that area,” he said. “The RCMP brought a dog in and we brought out the dog from our canine unit but the dogs couldn’t find anything.”

But the search came to a close shortly after Reichmuth’s body was found in the Bear Creek area. Police did not release the cause of his death on Sunday. Foul play was not suspected, however.

“Everybody pulled together,” said Medland said about the broad-based community effort involved in the search, speaking volumes about the love people had for Reichmuth.

“To be honest with you, it probably would’ve taken search and rescue at least 10 days—if not more—to cover the number of miles on roads that the public helped us cover in two days.

“It was that big of an effort and I would like to dwell on the great support we had from the public.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the death and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Trail RCMP at 250-364-2566.