By MARGARET SPEIRS
Special to the Advocate
TERRACE, B.C. — Two men who were with a Red Deer man who has been missing since the truck they were all in floated down the Skeena River late last fall have been charged with interfering in the police investigation.
Nathan Joseph Heit and Jesse Fehr each face charges of obstructing a peace officer, attempting to obstruct justice, and making false and misleading statements to police (public mischief).
Dustin Steele, 23, was last seen on Nov. 1, 2014, at about 9 p.m. in the Copper Flats area, when a truck he and two friends were in was driven into the river and became caught in the current, Terrace RCMP reported on Nov. 3, 2014.
Two of the men made it to shore and Steele was last seen in the back of the floating truck heading downstream on the Skeena River.
Search and rescue volunteers and individuals went out for days afterward looking for Steele.
Although the incident occurred on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 1, it was not reported to RCMP until the following day.
One of the men, a 25-year-old “who was with Dustin at the truck was arrested for obstruction on Nov. 3 and released the same day on conditions,” confirmed Terrace RCMP.
Terrace RCMP continued to investigate the reasons why Steele and the two others were by the river and how the truck ended up in the river.
Searchers found the truck submerged in the river on Nov. 4. However, bad weather and the river’s current prevented its successful recovery until the morning of Nov. 7.
In December, searchers returned to look on the shoreline and shallow water areas and found a child seat and boot believed to have come from the truck, said search and rescue officials at that time.
Late last month, searchers checked out a log jam down river from where the vehicle went into the water but did not find Steele’s body.
The two men make their first appearance in Terrace court on June 2.
Margaret Speirs is a Terrace Standard reporter.