Family of a missing Sylvan Lake man are keeping up hope that he will be found alive, but with each passing day the hope fades a little.
Sean Duplessis, 39, went missing on Saturday in Colorado. He and a co-worker were in the Clear Creek area, just west of Denver. Duplessis, who works for Abel Corp. out of Lacombe as a foreman, had been in Colorado for nearly two months. He was getting a new shop for the company up and running.
Sean grew up in Sylvan Lake and had worked for Abel Corp., a Lacombe-based cabinetry shop, for many years.
His mother Judy Duplessis said simply “this is hell.”
Sean was one of her two children. The other, James, died in 2011 after a battle with pneumonia.
“The fact they can’t find him, in some ways it is easier because I can convince myself he got out of that water and he’s sitting on a rock and waiting for them to find him,” said Judy. “On the other hand, I know it is pretty well false hope.
“I just need them to find him.”
His sister-in-law, Tasha Molleken Lee, said Sean was supposed to fly back to Alberta this Friday, then return to Colorado with his children, aged nine and 15.
“I’m just hoping someone sees or hears about it,” said Molleken Lee. “Or if someone finds his body, they can identify it.
“We realize that with every minute our chances of finding him alive are slimmer.”
He is considered a missing person but is presumed to be dead.
He had befriended a co-worker from Colorado and they had gone to a creek after midnight on Saturday morning as part of a weekend getaway in the mountains near Denver. He waded into the creek to about his knees. It is unclear if Sean jumped or slipped, but that was when he went missing. He had taken off his pants and his shoes before entering the water.
His friend waited for 45 minutes but Sean did not return. An extensive but unsuccessful search of the area was conducted during daylight hours on Saturday.
Sean was born April Fool’s Day in 1975, and Judy said this became a source of teasing throughout his childhood. She would tell him his birthday had been cancelled as an April Fool’s joke when he was little.
“Everybody loved Sean,” said Judy. “He was the best father in the whole world, he loved his kids to no end.”
Though he had been in Denver for almost two months, he had called his children every other night and called Judy twice a week.
Molleken Lee said he is about 1.72 metres (five foot eight) tall and weighs about 95 kg (210 pounds) and has distinctive tattoos.
“We need to find him, whether or not he is alive, to be able to put him to rest,” said Molleken Lee. “Especially since his mother lost his brother three years ago.”