Zach Evans, 23, (right) says his twin brother James (left) was a “kind and wonderful guy” who loved working on his car and was always ready to help others. Evans is reeling from the news that his brother’s BMW was found crashed off the Pat Bay Highway on Saturday with two people deceased inside. Police say the pair is likely James and Easha Rayel, 36. (Submitted/Zach Evans)

Twin brother of Pat Bay Highway crash victim says police efforts were misplaced

Car may have remained undiscovered for weeks in dense natural brush

“He was the best brother a guy could have.”

That’s how Zach Evans, 23, describes his identical twin brother James, who, along with 36-year-old Easha Rayel, are believed to be the people found deceased in a crashed BMW off of the Pat Bay Highway on Saturday.

The pair were officially missing for a number of weeks, and despite a reported sighting of his brother’s blue BMW in Vernon the week of Aug. 12, Evans now believes James and Easha died the same day they were last seen.

He was horrified to realize he had driven past the crash site – where his brother and Rayel’s bodies may have remained undiscovered for weeks – a number of times since Aug. 9, the day they were last seen on the Saanich Peninsula.

“I visited his crash site last night. It’s unfortunate because I work beside the ferry terminal as well and I’ve driven by it numerous times since the day it happened,” Evans said.

READ ALSO: Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Alastair Evans, father of James Evans, created this sign and placed it the site where his son’s BMW was discovered crashed with two deceased people inside on Saturday. RCMP believe the pair is James and Easha Rayel, who had been reported missing Aug. 9. (Submitted/Zach Evans)

Evans said James had worked at Spinnakers on the Fly, a restaurant at the Victoria International Airport, for over five years, which is where he met Rayel. He couldn’t confirm the nature of their relationship but believed they were a couple.

He said his brother was last seen on Aug. 9 around 8 p.m. by some friends at a Chevron gas station in Sidney. Evans logged into his brother’s Facebook account and saw that his last message had been sent at 11 p.m. that night.

He believes he may have picked up Rayel shortly after and was heading north towards his mother’s house, which was near the ferry terminal, when the accident occurred.

The dark blue BMW was travelling northbound on Highway 17 when it veered off the highway just north of McDonald Road, and plunged down a deep ravine. Sidney North Saanich RCMP said the vehicle was obscured by thick, natural brush. They believe the bodies to be that of Rayel and Evans.

Now in the hands of BC Coroner Service, RCMP said they can’t comment on how long the vehicle was there or provide any more details on this investigation. That does little to comfort Evans, who believes police efforts were wasted on what he says was a false sighting in Vernon.

“It’s just horrible that the police tried focusing their efforts and power in Vernon on this false statement but could have done a better job focusing in Sidney, closer to home.”

READ ALSO: Missing Victoria pair’s BMW spotted in Vernon

Working now to remember happy times with his twin, Evans described James, through tears, as a “kindhearted guy” who would never hurt a fly and was always first to help others. Evans said his favourite hobby was working on his car and he recalled his brother joking to friends, ‘If I die, bury me in a BMW.’

“He got his wish,” Evans remarked.

Evans has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a casual memorial service where friends and family can come together to share stories and “pour out a beer” for James.

“He just wanted to be loved and cared for and liked,” Evans said. “He always wanted to be included. If he were here today he would be so happy knowing that all these people would want to come out and be there for him.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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