B.C. RCMP officers are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a man who may help in the investigation into the disappearance of a young Red Deer woman seven years ago, near Prince George, B.C.
Nicole Hoar was 25 years old and working as a tree planter in B.C. when she vanished on June 21, 2002, while hitch-hiking along Hwy 16 to visit her sister in Smithers, B.C.
Investigators with the “E” Division Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit interviewed people in the area and received information that an unknown Caucasian man may have information that could help in the investigation.
Police say in 2002 he appeared to be in his mid-50s, with black shoulder-length hair, a skinny face, sunken eyes and scruffy appearance. He wore thin glasses, was a smoker and he had a pronounced jagged scar on the left side of his neck.
“We have no information at this point to suggest he is a suspect or that he has anything to do with Nicole’s disappearance,” said Cpl. Annie Linteau, a communication officer with the RCMP, on Sunday. “We think he may have some idea of her actions or where she had been during that weekend.”
On Sunday, RCMP completed their search of a property in the District of Isle Pierre, west of Prince George, B.C. It was once the home of Leland Vincent Switzer, a man convicted of killing his brother two day’s after Hoar’s disappearance. Investigators also finished searching a property nearby that has been used as an unauthorized dumping area by people in the area.
“We will not discuss what we found for the time being,” Linteau said. “It does take some time typically to determine the relevance of any items, if any have been located.”
Two Alberta search and rescue dogs trained in the detection and recovery of human remains and around 15 members of the volunteer Prince George Search and Rescue team helped investigators during the weekend. Police also used ground penetrating radar to detect anomalies in the ground.
Linteau said RCMP officers received nearly 100 tips and they are extremely pleased with the information the public has given them.
Hwy 16, where Hoar disappeared, has been called the Highway of Tears because at least eight other women have disappeared or been murdered along it since 1990.
Ray Michalko, a private investigator with Valley Pacific Investigations, has experience in the area. He led a search in 2007 for evidence in relation to Hoar’s disappearance.
He said there are little communities on the way to where the police were searching that are somewhat abandoned that used to have a store and houses when the mill was in full operation. “Now it’s run down. It’s like a ghost town, but you’ll see a TV dish hanging off the side of an old building. There are trailers, there are pit bulls, you name it. It’s a scary place,” Michalko said.
He said many of the missing and murdered women’s families he has spoken to have told him they feel that if just one case could get solved then more cases would be as well. “Every time something like this happens all of the families are kind of sitting with their fingers crossed,” he said.