The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) has absolved the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing in the case of a missing person who was found deceased late last year.
The province’s police watchdog investigated the circumstances that arose in December 2020, when the missing person’s body was found by a family member shortly after police had suspended their search due to troublesome weather.
Just before 1 a.m. Dec. 29, 2020, officers responded to a missing person report that brought them to a Lumby residence, where they searched on foot until approximately 3:30 a.m.
Despite the use of a police dog, police were not able to locate a starting point for the search. In consultation with a family member, officers left the immediate area in hopes the person would return once the police presence was cleared, as poor weather conditions were raising concerns about the person being outdoors on foot. Officers continued to search in the broader area.
Around 4 a.m. the missing person was located by a family member. Emergency Health Services attended to provide treatment, but the individual was later pronounced dead.
According to the IIO, which announced the conclusion of its investigation Tuesday (March 2), the Chief Civilian Director has reviewed the evidence — including a statement from the family member and police records — and has found that police actions during the search were reasonable. This means the matter will not be referred to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges.
The IIO is B.C.’s independent civilian oversight agency which investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.