RCMP finish search for Nicole Hoar on B.C. property

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP have finished their search of two sites in northern British Columbia for the remains of 25-year-old tree-planter Nicole Hoar — but they wouldn’t say what, if anything, they had found.

Members of the RCMP use a tractor to search a rural property on the outskirts of Prince George

Members of the RCMP use a tractor to search a rural property on the outskirts of Prince George

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP have finished their search of two sites in northern British Columbia for the remains of 25-year-old tree-planter Nicole Hoar — but they wouldn’t say what, if anything, they had found.

Police and volunteers wrapped up work on Sunday at a two-hectare property near Prince George and at an unauthorized community dump about a kilometre away.

They began searching the first property last week for the remains of Nicole Hoar, who was from Red Deer, and disappeared June 21, 2002.

The search was expanded to include an unauthorized community dump about a kilometre northwest of the original site for possible items related to the case.

Cpl. Annie Linteau said it’s too early to say whether investigators found any human remains or other items of interest at either site.

“We’re not in a position to discuss it,” Linteau said in an interview.

“If anything was found, it would take some time for us to determine relevance to the investigation.”

The RCMP say Hoar’s case is part of a broader investigation into the fate of 18 women who have been killed or disappeared in the region during the past several decades.

Nearly all of the women have been aboriginal, although Hoar was not.

Linteau also couldn’t say whether investigators have found any new evidence in recent days linking Hoar’s disappearance with other cases.

The search involved heavy machinery and hand tools as officers and search-and-rescue volunteers combed the property and the dump site.

Of particular interest at the dump was a yellow pickup truck, which Linteau said police examined but hadn’t seized.

Investigators were working to determine who owned the truck, she said.

On Saturday, the RCMP said they were also looking for a man who may have information about Hoar’s whereabouts on the weekend she disappeared.

At the time, the white man was believed to be in his mid-50s, with shoulder-length black hair and sunken eyes. He was a smoker and has a pronounced jagged scar on the left side of his neck.

The renewed focus on the case has prompted about 100 tips from the public, said Linteau, and extra officers were staying in Prince George to check them out over the coming days.

“Investigators will be following up on that information,” she said.

Hoar disappeared while hitchhiking along Highway 16 west of Prince George on her way to visit her sister in Smithers, B.C.

Last week, police obtained a warrant to search a property once owned by convicted murderer Leland Vincent Switzer, who shot his brother Irvin to death two days after Hoar disappeared.

Switzer was convicted of second-degree murder in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison.

Police have said they were interested in a previous owner of the property but have not identified him by name.

Switzer sold the property in 2006 to someone who then sold it to the current owner.

Switzer’s former defence lawyer said an investigator interviewed Switzer about Hoar in 2004.