PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — RCMP expanded their search to include a second property on Saturday, as they continued to look for clues in the disappearance of Nicole Hoar.
The 25-year-old Red Deer woman went missing near Prince George, B.C., seven years ago.
Around 15 people from the volunteer Prince George Search and Rescue team were assisting “E” Division Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit investigators on Saturday by conducting a grid search of the densely forested area at the initial property.
The two-hectare property — where police initially started looking and continue to search — was once the home of Leland Vincent Switzer, a man convicted of killing his brother two day’s after Hoar’s disappearance. The first property is located on Pinewood Road in the District of Isle Pierre, west of Prince George, B.C..
The second property is around a kilometre and a half northeast of the initial site. Cpl. Annie Linteau, a communication officer with the RCMP, said it has been used as an unauthorized dumping site for some people in the area.
“Based on some information we received yesterday we expanded the search over there,” Linteau said.
Of special interest to investigators is an abandoned vehicle that will be seized and forensically examined.
Excavating equipment and a geological expert using specialized radar equipment to find underground evidence have been brought in by police, The Canadian Press reported.
RCMP officers were using rakes, shovels and pick axes to dig into a hole in the middle of the old garbage pile and an excavating machine was moving large piles of waste for them to check.
Hoar had been working as a tree planter and went missing June 21, 2002, while hitch-hiking along Hwy 16 from Prince George to visit her sister in Smithers, B.C. Hwy 16 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.
Michalko said the RCMP are currently searching on the north side of the highway. He was searching on the south side of the highway, around 30 minutes away from the RCMP’s site.
Michalko, who is a former RCMP officer, said there are little communities on the way to where the police are 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.
Michalko 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.