Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR) has suspended its search efforts for missing woman Shannon White after spending the past two weeks scouring forested areas north and west of the city.
The 32-year-old White was last seen on the morning of Nov. 1 when she left her basement suite home on Bestwick Court in Lower Sahali to drive to work at Kamloops Hyundai, a dealership two kilometres away on Notre Dame Drive in Southgate.
Her 1997 Jeep TJ was found the next afternoon, Nov. 2, abandoned downtown in the 200-block of Nicola Street. Kamloops police have since learned the vehicle was spotted twice on Nov. 1 — first driving west on the Trans-Canada Highway shortly after White was supposed to have arrived at work at 8:30 a.m., leaving town for a 45-minute period, then travelling north on Highway 5, passing by Rayleigh at about 5:30 p.m. before returning south at about 6:15 p.m.
The developments led police and KSAR to search for White daily in unspecified areas west and north of Kamloops, with this past weekend’s final searched focused on the Heffley Creek area, according to Kamloops RCMP.
Kamloops Search and Rescue manager Alan Hobler said the team is burned out and, after finding no sign of White following one last major search effort over the weekend, KSAR’s operations have been suspended pending any new information that comes to light.
“It’s completely unprecedented how hard we searched,” Hobler said, noting searches were conduced every day, except for one day, dating back to Nov. 10, with about 3,000 search hours accumulated.
The decision to recommend halting KSAR efforts ultimately came from the RCMP, Hobler said, noting it would have also been search and rescue’s recommendation due to a number of factors.
At this point, the likelihood of searchers getting hurt is higher than the likelihood of finding something, Hobler told KTW.
“Searchers get tired and, when searchers get tired, the higher the likelihood of injuries as well,” Hobler said.
There’s also the recent snowfall in the areas searched as snow makes the probability of finding something lower and the likelihood of missing something much higher.
Hobler said the team has extensively searched both areas RCMP requested KSAR to search.
“Not to say that something [hasn’t] been missed — that’s always a possibility — but the effort to continue versus the probability of finding something is quite a bit lower now,” he said.
Hobler said KSAR deployed varied and thorough techniques, noting it used search dogs and “some of the best search managers in the province to help profiling and find locations to look.”
“Basically, it’s beating the bushes,” he said. “It’s a lot of people, longer days. Just shortly after dawn to dusk, they’ve been out.”
While KSAR’s search efforts are now suspended, the RCMP may still continue to search, Hobler said.
He said the case is potentially a homicide investigation, but noted he is not at liberty to disclose the exact locations of the searches as that information must come from the RCMP.
Hobler said KSAR had 50 personnel out searching on the first day, west of Kamloops.
On the weekend of Nov. 13 and Nov. 14, police received the tip placing White’s vehicle north of the city. Hobler said while that “shifted gears” somewhat for KSAR, both areas were searched and considered by the RCMP as “high probability locations” of finding White, based on information police have gathered.
RCMP clears Silver Sage Trailer Court
Kamloops RCMP are no longer searching a trailer at the Silver Sage Trailer Park on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc reserve.
RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn confirmed to KTW officers have released the scene.
On Nov. 12, Kamloops RCMP issued a press release regarding its appearance at Silver Sage, but according to one resident of the park, police arrived two days earlier, on Nov. 10, and had a presence until about Nov. 16.
The trailer, KTW has learned, belonged to an ex-boyfriend of White’s, with whom she had a tumultuous relationship. The broke up about a year ago, friends of White’s have said. Police were made aware of that person, one of White’s friends told KTW.
One resident of the trailer park told KTW police seized three vehicles from the property, but does not know if anyone was arrested.
Evelyn said that due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, police won’t be confirming any arrests unless charges have been laid.
As of Nov. 22, no one has been charged and police continue to ask the public to continue to look for signs of White to assist their investigation.
Evelyn said police are continuing to receive and investigate tips from the public. Information can be called in to 250-828-3000.
White is 32 years old, stands 5-foot-5 and weighs 180 pounds. She has blond hair, green eyes and fair skin. White sometimes wears glasses, has a Medusa lip piercing and a tongue piercing and several large arm tattoos, including a portrait of her dog, Buddy.
Her Jeep is a black 1997 TJ model with the B.C. licence plate KA0 22N. It has a turquoise palm print decal on the driver’s side mirror, turquoise ‘Wander Lust’ decal on the passenger side of the hood with a circular pattern between the two words.
Missing is a pink flower that typically sits above her spare tire.