Amid a cold snap in the Lower Mainland, the dire search for a missing senior in rural Maple Ridge has been suspended.
Tjeerd ‘Ted’ Vanderveen, who suffers from dementia, left his house in the 26500-block of 112th Avenue at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday to go for a walk in the Ferguson Trails area, a location well-known to him, say Ridge Meadows RCMP.
Vanderveen had been dressed for a walk during cold daytime temperatures. According to area residents they woke to temperatures of -6 C on Friday morning.
Rick Laing of Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue said the ground search has been officially suspended, but police continue their investigation as a missing persons case.
Members of the public and family of Vanderveen are still combing the trails.
“They (the public) were out there in droves,” said Laing. “They were quite helpful. We had people stopping by with GPS tracks of what they had covered, so that helped us plot.”
There were 44 search and rescue members from the Maple Ridge-based team and surrounding teams on Thursday, and 24 on Friday. The RCMP Air One helicopter and a police dog team also assisted the search.
A person believed to be the missing man was sighted in the area as late at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“We searched the area as thoroughly as we could with the resources we had, which was a lot,” said Laing.
They covered the entire trail network about three times, he said.
RCMP Cpl. Dean Caughy said Tlate hursday that searchers had been out until 1 a.m. Then searchers re-deployed and covered them all again beginning first thing on Friday morning, even expanding the search area.
“With his age, we probably went further than he could have, but we wanted to cover all the bases,” said Caughy, who is in charge of the ground search.
He said the rural area, challenging terrain and cold weather add urgency to this missing persons case.
At this point, searchers must consider that Vanderveen has left the area, said Laing. He said it is tough for his team members to lift the search.
“You join Search and Rescue to help people find people. When you don’t it’s frustrating. It’s a job left undone.”
Vanderveen is described as an elderly white man with a slim build and short grey hair. He was wearing a turquoise coat, jeans, black boots, and a black toque and black gloves.
He responds to the name ‘Ted.’
Police are asking anyone with any information or if they have seen him to call 911.