A small community near Greater Victoria is grieving tonight after the discovery of two bodies believed to belong to two men missing since Friday night. Crews were searching near Sooke River early Sunday evening for the body of a third young man, but left just after 6:15 p.m.
Families of the missing men gathered at Sooke’s RCMP station Sunday afternoon following the discovery of the bodies. The Peninsula News Review has learned the identity of one of the bodies, but is withholding that information pending official confirmation.
“Way too young, absolutely heartbreaking,” said Cory Payne, a Sooke resident, when asked about his thoughts.
Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, each said to be 20 years old, were missing since Friday night when witnesses last saw them together at approximately 11 p.m.
Their disappearance, which ran very much contrary to prior conduct, quickly triggered a community-wide search for the trio with dozens, if not hundreds of residents, searching neighbouring communities along the West Shore, popular recreation and hiking spots, as well as more distant back roads, with some searchers driving east to Port Renfrew, and others driving towards Cowichan Lake. Volunteers not searching for the trio helped in other ways, organizing food and other measures of support.
Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue officially joined Sooke residents and RCMP in the search Sunday morning. A helicopter joining the search spotted the trio’s blue truck early Sunday afternooon with the vehicle unoccupied. According to locals reporting through social media, the search turned into a rescue.
News of the bodies’ discovery broke Sunday afternoon with officials focusing their search on a property along Sooke River Road near the river.
Susan Keith, who lives in the area, says news of the discovery is awful.
“How sad it is for those families tonight,” she said. “How I wish it could have been a better outcome. I can see the river through the trees and it’s so high. Just such a bad of circumstances and how sad for the families and the community.”
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