A mystery is building on the mid-Island where a young mother of two has now been missing for more than three weeks. Carmel Gilmour disappeared without a trace on November 14th and her van was found abandoned by police on the side of the Old Island Highway. RCMP say there are few clues to help find her. Skye Ryan reports.
The 36-year-old woman whose vehicle was found abandoned in Qualicum Beach in November remains missing.
Carmel Gilmour was last seen in person at Little Mountain Road in Parksville on Nov. 14. Then her van, a brown Chevrolet Venture, was seen parked at the Shady Rest in Qualicum Beach on Nov. 15.
Cpl. Jesse Foreman of Oceanside RCMP said they are asking anyone who saw something suspicious, such as somebody hitchhiking or "down on their luck," near the Shady Rest on the Old Island Highway (Highway 19A) around Nov. 15 to contact them.
The Shady Rest is a restaurant and popular lookout spot over the ocean.
"Definitely shock," said Carmel Gilmour's friend Dale Bennett. "A small town like this, you don't hear about people going missing much. So yeah very concerning."
Bennett befriended Gilmour this past summer and says she loves her two young children who she'd recently lost custody of. He says he can't imagine she'd ever have just left like this.
"She talked a lot about her kids," said Bennett. "Very sad. Definitely, her kids need her back."
RCMP were not alerted until Nov. 21 about the suspicious vehicle though and when they recovered it, they found what appears to be all she owns inside including her identification. They were unable to find Carmel Gilmour.
"It appears that she was down on her luck and possibly living in that van because it was full of many personal belongings," said Cpl. Foreman.
"We found it unlocked and out of gas. So what we're curious about after canvassing all that whole neighbourhood and area and talking to everyone that might have seen something and we've come up sort of empty on that is did anybody see a lady hitchhiking perhaps? Or with a gas can in her hand or anything like that? Because at this point we have zero leads as to where this young lady is," said Foreman.
Since her disappearance, there has been no activity on her bank account or tips to point RCMP towards finding her.
"We've searched the vehicle," said Foreman.
"We've had our ident section process it, we've sort of gone down every single road."
Friends and RCMP are appealing for the public's help. Anything that can bring them closer to finding Carmel Gilmour.
"It's a mystery," said Bennett. "Any small detail that they can provide it might be something significant," he said.