Victoria police have released new images of Plaza Hotel caretaker Mike Draeger, taken in the weeks before the downtown Victoria landmark was destroyed by fire.
Draeger has been missing since the fire broke out in the early morning hours on May 6, and lived in the otherwise vacant former hotel at 603 Pandora Ave.
“He still remains unaccounted for, we’re hoping that somebody out there knows where he is and these pictures will aid us in locating him,” said Victoria Police spokesman Const. Matt Rutherford.
The five new images were taken from security camera footage police canvassed as part of their investigation and confirmed to show Draeger by family and friends. Previously, the only public image of Draeger had come from a photo taken “many years ago” provided by family members.
Friends have expressed concern that Draeger died in the fire. Rutherford said police would like to be able to “provide closure” to both Draeger’s family and the public regarding his fate. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call VicPD at 250-995-7654.
The fire investigation is ongoing. Police confirmed Tuesday that major crimes detectives are working with the Victoria Fire Department to establish a cause for the blaze, which is being treated as suspicious.
Victoria Fire is also investigating a fire that caused extensive damage to a building in the 1300-block of Broad Street Saturday morning. Police say so far there is no indication the two fires are connected.
The City of Victoria fully reopened Government Street to traffic between Pandora and Johnson Street Wednesday, the last section of road that remained closed due to the fire and subsequent demolition of the damaged hotel structure.