Those who knew Mike Grefner will remember the 34-year-old as a soul seeker and someone who touched the lives of many.
Whistler RCMP confirmed on Wednesday the human remains found in the woods near the Alpine Meadows subdivision north of the Village of Whistler were those of the former Red Deer resident.
Two hikers found the remains in the subdivision, about two kilometres south of where Grefner resided in the village, on Saturday. Whistler-Pemberton RCMP Staff Stg. Steve LeClair said Wednesday there were no signs of foul play.
Grefner’s sister, Katherine Grefner of Vancouver, was in Red Deer Wednesday with her parents. She went to the site with police on Monday where her brother’s cellphone and hoodie were located about 30 metres from the remains.
“We’ve pretty much been dealing with this for two days,” she said. “We’ve also been bracing ourselves for the last eight weeks but (we) did have hope. The hope is gone but the love is still there.”
She said her brother will be remembered for his positive nature and spiritual soul. She said the outpouring of support and inspiration has been heartwarming for her family.
“He will be missed and he will be missed for a long time,” she said. “He was a seeker in spirituality. Everything that he learned in his path, he shared with everybody along the way. You can tell that touched a lot of lives.”
Grefner’s good friend in Red Deer, Quan Diep, said the news is still sinking in but he knew deep down that when the remains were found it was his friend.
“I just had that terrible feeling over the weekend,” said an emotional Diep. “I knew it was him. Just like they say you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best . . . inside I kind of felt it.”
Grefner was reported missing on Jan. 17 after he failed to show up for a shift at a nightclub where he was a resident disc jockey in the ski resort village.
Grefner was a popular DJ in Red Deer where he worked in local clubs before moving to British Columbia about seven years ago to pursue his music career.
Within days of Grefner’s disappearance, his friends and family launched a Facebook group, which grew over the weeks to include more than 2,700 members to date.
RCMP credited earlier that the time line and tips posted on the group helped in the investigation.
Diep was one of several Red Deer residents who went to Whistler to help with the search. Diep said the area where the body was found was searched twice, including by Grefner’s two sisters.
“We’ve known each other our whole lives,” said Diep. “I don’t consider him just a friend. We’ve always just joked around that we’re brothers from different mothers. He is an amazing person who was always spreading positive energy.”
Friends have created a Facebook memorial page, One Love! A Dedication to Mike Grefner.
Funeral arrangements and memorial services are expected to be finalized this week. Katherine Grefner said there will likely be a service in both Red Deer and Whistler.