Disappearance of Oak Bay senior baffles police and loved ones

Disappearance of Oak Bay senior baffles police and loved ones

WATCH: The search is intensifying for an Oak Bay senior who vanished without a trace last week. Gladys Barman has been missing since last Thursday. Tess van Straaten has the latest.

Neil Barman is putting up posters of his missing mom everywhere he can as the disappearance of 82-year old Gladys Barman continues to baffle both authorities and loved ones.

“She loves her cat and she loves doing her paper route,” says Neil Barman. “She wouldn’t just leave those things. I couldn’t even get her to go on vacation many times because she didn’t want to rely on someone else getting the papers.”

The grandmother and long-time community volunteer disappeared without a trace last week.

A surveillance photo from the Petro Canada station on West Saanich around 10 a.m. July 5 is the last confirmed sighting of Gladys and her forest green Honda accord. It’s also the last time her credit card was used.

“Sadly, there’s no real reason to think that she stayed in that area,” says Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties of the Oak Bay Police Department.

Police have issued a province-wide bulletin and they’re also investigating a tip that someone matching Gladys’ description asked about B&Bs in Cowichan Bay on Thursday afternoon.

There have also been possible sightings reported all over Vancouver Island in the last 24 hours but so far, police say none have panned out.

“We haven’t stopped making phone calls and we’re still makeing phone calls to B&Bs up the Island right now so we’re very concerned,” Deputy Chief Bernoties says. “With every passing day our concern grows.”

Investigators say it was a concerned neighbour in Gladys’ South Oak Bay neighbourhood that first alerted them to the fact something was wrong. The neighbour noticed newspapers for Gladys’ Times Colonist paper route stacked up at her house that should have been delivered early Thursday morning.

“Gladys is something of a legend in our circulation department,” explains Times Colonist columnist Jack Knox. “She’s been delivering the paper, three routes a day on foot, for 23 years and never phones in sick, she never takes a day off. She is utterly dependable.”

Gladys has also volunteered at the Times Colonist book sale for two decades and for the last 25 years, she’s spent every Tuesday volunteering at the Mustard Seed, as well as other non-profits.

“She volunteered for the 10,000 Villages Store for years in Royal Oak,” says Knox. “She does the Thrifty’s Sendial program — she’s done that for 25 years and I’m told she would feel terrible about missing a shift.”

Gladys has had some cognitive issues and memory loss in the last couple of weeks so her family is hoping everyone will keep an eye out to help bring her home.

Gladys is about 5’8 and 190 pounds with whitish grey hair and blue eyes.

She was last seen wearing a teal blue windbreaker and jeans.

Gladys was driving a 2002 Forest Green Honda Accord with BC plate 940 RGA.

A ‘Finding Gladys Barman’ Facebook page has been set up as a hub for information.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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