Renewed search for missing hiker in Sooke once again suspended

Renewed search for missing hiker in Sooke once again suspended
Crews from 11 different search and rescue organizations joined in the search for Melissa McDevitt on July 8, 2023.

After investigators learned new information that they hoped would help locate missing hiker Melissa McDevitt, who went missing in Sooke, this weekend’s search has once again been suspended.

Over 80 searchers from 11 search and rescue agencies were out in the Charters River area looking for McDevitt on July 8 and 9.

In a release, RCMP say an “exhaustive” search was conducted in the area led by Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue.

RCMP once again suspended the search because “nothing of obvious significance was located.”

“We would like to acknowledge the significant efforts of Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue and all other assisting SAR agencies during this search period, particularly through challenging terrain during very warm weekend weather. The RCMP will continue to investigate Melissa’s disappearance in pursuit of answers for the McDevitt family,” said Segt. Kevin Shaw from the Sooke RCMP.

McDevitt, who lived in Victoria, was reported missing on Dec. 10, 2022, after she missed a flight to visit her family in North Carolina.

READ MORE: Woman whose vehicle was found at Sooke Potholes is very familiar with the area: police

Her vehicle was located in the parking lot at Sooke Potholes, so search efforts were concentrated in the park to try and find her.

The next day, RCMP released surveillance footage that appeared to show McDevitt walking along Charter River on Sooke River Road.

READ MORE: New video shows Melissa McDevitt near Sooke Potholes day before she was reported missing

After nine days, the search for McDevitt was suspended.

Six months later, RCMP reactivated the search after information from McDevitt’s smartwatch narrowed down where the 39-year-old may have been hiking on Dec. 10.

Her smartwatch showed that on Dec. 9, McDevitt had hiked a trail in the same area that she was seen on surveillance footage, leading investigators to believe she may have taken the same route with the intention of hiking farther.

Search and rescue teams searched the area shown on her smartwatch data, with no luck in locating the missing woman.

RCMP are asking anyone with information about McDevitt’s disappearance to call the Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241.

Two pictures of Melissa McDevitt, who is described as five feet tall witha slim build.

Melissa McDevitt last spoke with her family on Dec. 8, 2022. (Victoria Police/handout)

-With files from CHEK’s Jeff Lawrence, Hannah Lepien, Tchadas Leo

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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