Cowichan Search and Rescue were called out last week to assist in the recovery of human remains at Cowichan Lake. (Citizen file)

Human remains found at Cowichan Lake

Speculation it may be Darreld Rayner, who has been missing for 10 years

Human remains were discovered in the Lake Cowichan area on Saturday, Dec. 23, but, although there is speculation in the community that it may be Darreld Rayner, missing for 10 years, the Coroner’s service is still investigating.

Rayner, a Lake Cowichan resident and member of the Youbou TimberLess Society, went missing in 2007, and no trace of what happened to him has ever been found, although friends and family have never given up hope of finding him.

“I can tell you the Coroners Service has been called to investigate found human remains at Lake Cowichan last week but at this stage we have not determined the identity of the decedent,” said Andy Watson of the BC Coroners Service. “In order to determine the identity of the deceased, we will be doing some testing of samples (per normal procedure).”

Watson said it may take about a month for testing.

Dewi Griffiths, president and a search leader for Cowichan Search and Rescue, said “the Saturday, Dec. 23 recovery was to assist RCMP and Coroner, but I’m not sure we can comment other than to say our team performed a difficult task with professionalism and dedication in tricky, snowy conditions.”

The details of Rayner’s disappearance are sketchy.

On May 7, 2007, Rayner, who was 52 years old at the time, went missing while walking his dog.

He was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. walking along Fairservice Main logging road, roughly three kilometers from his home. Beginning that afternoon, an extensive search was conducted by RCMP and local Search and Rescue crews, with the assistance of family and volunteers.

Rayner’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was found that night by searchers, as was a coffee cup belonging to Rayner.

An intensive search, which included the use of tracking dogs and helicopters, covered that area thoroughly. The search went on for several days, and more than 3,400 search hours were expended.

Even after the official search ended, the family and other volunteers continued to search for Rayner in the area south of Lake Cowichan for several more months, never giving up hope that their family member and friend would be found.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LOOK BACK: A journey of time in Port Alberni

Take a peek at Port Alberni’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: I was raised a reader, and I’m passing it on

Alberni Valley News’ editor shares memories of reading to her niece

ALBERNI GOLF: Nielson leads the way in men’s golf

Sunday, Sept. 27 will be an 18-hole two-man alternate shot event

ARTS AROUND: Grandmother and grandson team up for art exhibit in Port Alberni

This will be Pam Turner’s first art show in 17 years.

Ucluelet mayor criticizes province’s lack of communication as highway closures resume

Daily closures return to only highway in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Most Read