UPDATE: The missing person that prompted last week’s heavy police presence at Christina Lake was believed to be a danger to RCMP officers, but has since been located near Creston.
According to a series of press releases, the missing individual who was the subject of the June 13 response at Christina Lake was 69-year-old Wilfred James Kilgren of Popkum (near Chilliwack). He was believed to be travelling via the Coquihala between Rosedale and Creston. He was located near Creston on Thursday.
Kilgren had last spoken to a “caregiver” on June 12, and RCMP issued his missing persons news release on June 19. The incident in Christina Lake was on June 13.
“Police and caregivers are concerned for Mr. Kilgren’s well-being and believe he may be in need of medical attention,” the release notes.
Upper Fraser Valley Regional RCMP based in Chilliwack declined further comment citing privacy concerns.
Insp. Tim Olmstead of the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment said the detachment received notification that Kilgren was believed to be in the area and the detachment was lending assistance.
“Let’s put it this way: people react in different ways to police,” Olmstead said, in response to a question about the heavy police presence for a missing persons case. “We believed we should provide heightened security for RCMP.”
“There was potential danger to RCMP,” he added. Olmstead declined to comment any underlying reasons for this potentially heightened reaction, including medical or mental health.
ORIGINAL: Twenty or more RCMP officers, including members of a tactical emergency response team from the Lower Mainland, were conducting a “sensitive” operation in the Christina Lake area on Thursday.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich with the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment was on site at the operation’s incident command at the Christina Lake Fire Hall on Thursday afternoon. He declined comment at points throughout the afternoon as the operation was ongoing.
Friday morning Wicentowich confirmed the RCMP conducted a “sensitive” operation in Christina Lake on Thursday. Emergency response teams from the Lower Mainland and Kelowna were in the area, and Wicentowich said approximately 20 of those members were involved.
Grand Forks Gazette reporter Kathleen Saylors was on scene for parts of the afternoon and evening. She witnessed a road block on West Lake Drive that included four vehicles and at least four officers, all heavily armed. Later in the afternoon she witnessed a police dog and handler on the site at West Lake Drive, as well as a helicopter flying overhead.
At the time, she was advised by RCMP not to post on social media, especially photos, due to the nature of the operation. She was also advised to remain in her car as RCMP were expecting an interaction of some kind, though details were not given. She was not asked to leave the scene.
RCMP declined to comment on prevailing rumour as to the nature of the operation.
At the incident command post, Saylors witnessed a dozen or more officers and about a dozen unmarked police vehicles, in addition to a large RCMP tactical unit resembling an armoured van.
Saylors heard what sounded like at least one gunshot, though was unable to confirm that there had been gunfire.
Saylors observed that officers were no longer on site at the fire hall nor on West Lake Drive as of late Thursday evening.
No arrest was made Thursday, Wicentowich said, but he added there is “no perceived risk” to the public.
As of Friday morning, the emergency response team was no longer involved in the ongoing investigation and it had been turned over to Grand Forks RCMP, Wicentowich said.
Grand Forks RCMP declined further comment on Friday morning, but confirmed the detachment is investigating.
Grand Forks RCMP did not return requests for comment on Monday or Tuesday prior to press time to get an update on this story.