A helicopter scoured part of the West Coast of Vancouver Island Monday in the search for a missing Central Saanich man.
Nathaniel Watters, 41, was last seen Friday (July 8) around 4:30 a.m. in the Keating area, but his last known location is north of Fairy Lake on a forest service road in Port Renfrew, according to an online fundraiser launched July 10.
Central Saanich police describe Watters as a high risk missing person. High-risk cases are ones where investigators believe the person’s health or well being may be in immediate danger.
The GoFundMe raised its $12,000 goal on the first day to support aerial searches. Searchers are looking for Watters’ grey, 2010 Ford F-150 with B.C. plate PJ7 371. He is described as 5’10” and about 225 pounds.
Friends and family are also maintaining a Facebook page Help Find Nathaniel Watters sharing updates and taking tips.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Watters or his truck is asked to call 911 or the Central Saanich Police at 250-652-4441.
A similar scene unfolds north of the Malahat in the search for a missing Port Alberni woman in her 40s. RCMP there received word July 8 that Amber Manthorne had not been seen or heard from by friends and family since July 6. They put out a public request for people to watch out for Manthorne or her vehicle, a white 2021 Jeep Compass that was located south of Nanaimo on July 9. Manthorne is 5’1” and slim with blond hair. Searches continue in that region.
Among a multitude of missing persons reported – then quickly found – in the region each year, a handful of modern mysteries remain.
On April 24, Laura Huebner got off a flight from Saskatchewan and was last seen at Victoria International Airport in North Saanich. Police believe she travelled to Nanaimo that day. Since then, there have been no other confirmed sightings.
Huebner, 47, was reported missing on April 29. She is 5’8” and about 140 pounds with blond hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white jacket and a white hoodie.
VicPD recently marked six months since Victoria man Ian Indridson was reported missing, releasing information that the search is still underway. Investigators believe Indridson, 54, may have gone to an area near the ocean when he was last seen on the morning of Jan. 10. Police continue to treat the man’s case as high-risk, because of the uncharacteristic nature of the disappearance.
Gerald Kearney, then 61, has not been in contact with family or friends since Oct. 13, 2021. He was reported missing Oct. 21. Known by the camp name Smiley, Kearney was last seen walking between two encampments in the Fairy Creek watershed. Kearney is 5’4” and 210 pounds with shoulder-length grey hair and last seen wearing a purple sweater and red hoodie. He was hiking home from a camp 24 kilometres northeast of Port Renfrew to feed his cat in Victoria.
Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue conducted searches for three weeks and his backpack was found early in the investigation.
A recent online fundraising campaign helped his family maintain Victoria moorage for the boat Kearney calls home. Learn more on the Gerald David Kearney is Missing Facebook page.
Another individual reported missing around the same time, in a similar area, was later reported safe after they walked out of the woods three months later.
One high-profile missing case dates back nearly two years when Sean Hart, then 34, was last seen at the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020.
Hart suffers from schizoaffective disorder and was known to disappear for extended periods of time, often retreating into the woods and away from people. The first time Hart went missing for more than a week he had gone off his medication and went on what his mother described to Black Press Media as an adventure to Vancouver.
His family maintains the Facebook page Please Help Find Sean Martin Hart.
Anyone with information on any missing person is asked to call their local police department or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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