Kevin Shiell is an avid outdoorsman who has joined in the search for 41-year-old Ben Kilmer. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Chemainus ‘Mountain Man’ joins search for Ben Kilmer

Kevin Shiell has been putting his extensive outdoor skills to good use

A self-described “mountain man” has joined the search for Ben Kilmer, who has not been seen since last Wednesday afternoon.

Kevin Shiell has been putting his extensive outdoor skills to good use in the last few days, scouring bush and walking along the Cowichan River looking for any signs of the 41-year-old Kilmer, a Cobble Hill father of two youngsters.

“I have a son who is a similar age to (Kilmer’s) children and it hit home,” explains Shiell, who joined more than 100 volunteer searchers over the weekend.

“At a time like this a community needs to rally together. I hate to say it but tragedy brings a community together,” said Shiell who spends a lot of his spare time hiking, canoeing and motorbiking in the area where Kilmer disappeared.

He is drawn to rivers and likes to pan for gold in the Cowichan and Nanaimo Rivers.

“I planned to go camping and canoeing with my own son this weekend, but when I thought about what the Kilmers were going through, I knew I had to help out.”

On Monday, accompanied by a friend part of the time, Shiell, 42, covered an estimated 25 kilometres along the river, often knee deep in water, but didn’t find any sign of Kilmer.

“I’ve lived in the area most of my life and know it like the back of my hand. I’m an avid outdoorsman and I guess you could call me a survivalist,” Shiell says.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Benjamin Kilmer, contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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