Police and search and rescue teams are suspending their search for Victoria woman Melissa McDevitt nine days after she’s believed to have gone missing while hiking near Sooke.
BC RCMP said the search for McDevitt was suspended in consultation with Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, which has been combing over the area near the Sooke Potholes for any sign of the missing 39-year-old woman.
“The Sooke RCMP, along with Ms. McDevitt’s family, wish to extend their sincere appreciation to Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, along with over 17 other assisting Search and Rescue agencies from across Vancouver Island and other parts of British Columbia, for their significant search efforts over the last nine days,” said Sooke RCMP Acting Cmdr. Sgt. Kevin Shaw in a statement.
The suspension comes after a large-scale search involving more than 200 volunteers took place over the weekend, but was unsuccessful in locating McDevitt, considered to be a high-risk woman who is neurodivergent.
McDevitt’s family reported her missing after she failed to catch a flight to North Carolina to visit family on Dec. 10.
Surveillance footage captured on Dec. 9 showed her last known location, hiking along a trail adjacent to Charters River, near the Sooke Potholes, just before 2 p.m.
Her father flew to Victoria last week to aid search efforts, and was emotionally preparing himself for the possibility the search could end in tragedy.
Search and rescue crews believe McDevitt may have sought refuge from a storm on Dec. 9 in the area, and said members were searching “under and behind every tree, every root” in the area.
McDevitt’s disappearance remains under police investigation and officials are asking anyone with information to call them at 250-642-5241.