‘All we can do is try’: Family of man who vanished in Cowichan flood still searching

'All we can do is try': Family of man who vanished in Cowichan flood still searching

Derrick Sampson has visited the Cowichan River every single day for the past year, hoping it will give up his son.

“It’s just really hard, really hard,” said Derrick Sampson, father of Ethan Sampson. “It’s been long. I stop by here every day after work.”

Sampson said he looks for any sign of his son Ethan – in the waters, on the river’s banks, and in the log jams.

The young man who was known for being kind and funny, vanished on the night of January 30, 2020.

He was last seen walking on the Quamichan bridge, when rising storm waters, rain and darkness swallowed the 28-year-old from sight in what became the worst flooding in a generation.

“It was so high,” said friend Jennifer Charlie. “The river was so strong.”

Despite an immediate response, extensive efforts by trained divers, ground search and rescue crews and RCMP helicopters, not a trace of Ethan Sampson has ever been found.

Cowichan Tribes members even continued searching through the changing seasons until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Yeah it’s been hard,” said Sampson. “It’s been a whole year now and we slowly get the odd people out searching.”

“What can we do,” said Abby Peter, an uncle of Ethan Sampson. “All we can do is try.”

According to RCMP, the case is an active missing persons investigation, despite not being a single confirmed sighting of Ethan Sampson since he vanished one year ago.

Investigators tell CHEK News they can’t relaunch the search without a better idea of where to look and that’s where his family is hoping the public will come in.

“I think we can find him,” added Charlie.

Peter believes it’s possible too with the help of more volunteer search teams that can safely space themselves out due to COVID-19.

Until the day Ethan is found, Derrick Sampson said he will keep returning to the river every day looking for his boy and not giving up until he brings him home.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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