Missing Sooke hiker Melissa McDevitt found dead

CHEK
Melissa McDevitt is pictured in these handout photos from Victoria police.

The RCMP say the body of Melissa McDevitt has been found, nearly one year after the Victoria woman was first reported missing.

McDevitt, 39, was reported missing on Dec. 10, 2022 after she failed to board a flight to North Carolina to visit her family.

A large search was put on for the missing woman, whose vehicle was found abandoned in Sooke that weekend.

The initial search was called off after hundreds of volunteers – including McDevitt’s father, who flew to Victoria from North Carolina to help with the search – combed the area for nine days.

The search was renewed in July after data from McDevitt’s smartwatch helped narrow down where she may have been in December – including a remote hiking trail near the Sooke Potholes.

Police, alongside some 80 searchers from 11 search and rescue agencies took to the Sooke region from July 7 to 9, but no signs of her were found at the time.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, RCMP said McDevitt’s body had been found by volunteers who were part of the group Mindful of Melissa.

The volunteers found her remains in a wooded area in the Sooke Potholes on Wednesday.

“Although a full determination has yet to be made, RCMP do not believe that criminality was involved in the woman’s death,” said RCMP.

The BC Coroners Service is now running its own investigation into the woman’s death.

“The RCMP offers its condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

With files from CHEK’s Jeff Lawrence and Laura Brougham

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