New surveillance video shows what is believed to be the last known sighting of Melissa McDevitt, a high-risk missing woman whose vehicle was found abandoned in Sooke over the weekend.
McDevitt lives in Victoria but was supposed to fly to North Carolina from Vancouver Saturday night to visit her family. She never showed up, alarming her family and a search was launched for the 38-year-old.
McDevitt, an avid hiker, was known to frequent the area, so search and rescue crews performed aerial scans and ground searches enlisting canine units but could not locate the woman, who is neurodivergent and considered high-risk.
Sooke RCMP has since assumed conduct of the investigation from Victoria Police Department and while searches continued Monday, one clue came in the form of surveillance footage released by RCMP,
The short video appears to show McDevitt’s last known sighting, walking along Charters River on Sooke River Road at 2 p.m. Friday, the day before she was reported missing.
McDevitt’s family in the U.S. says they spoke to her Thursday and when she never showed up for her flight or even the ferry to Vancouver to start the journey home, they knew there was a problem.
The family called police and hours later McDevitt’s car was found in the Sooke River hatchery parking lot, not far from where the video was taken.
Sooke RCMP spokesman Sgt. Kevin Shaw said there’s concern that McDevitt wasn’t prepared for an overnight stay in the wilderness.
“Certainly with the weather that we’ve had, there’s no indication she was prepared for an overnight hike by any means and particularly an avid hiker not making their way back,” he said. “We’re concerned something has happened that was not planned.”
McDevitt is described as five feet tall with a slim build, weighing 105 pounds, and has alopecia but may be wearing a wig or have short, dyed rainbow-coloured hair.
Melissa McDevitt last spoke with her family on Dec. 8, 2022. (Victoria Police/handout)
Her family is now flying in from North Carolina to help with the search.
Sooke RCMP hope the new images will trigger someone’s memories who may have seen McDevitt and are asking anyone with information to contact them.