Lengthy air searches above the Pacific Rim Highway between Port Alberni and Tofino, and the Island highways from Quailcum to Comox have turned up no signs of a Saanich woman who hasn’t been seen for nearly two weeks.
Shirley Burstall, 75, was last seen at 10:25 a.m. on April 5 at a gas station in Ladysmith. She’d spent the last five days on vacation in Chemainus, but no one is sure where she was headed after filling up her car. She hasn’t been seen since.
On Tuesday, Saanich police Det. Sgt. John Price said despite the lengthy time that has passed, her family remains optimistic she’s alive.
“There’s still a lot of hope, considering her capabilities,” Price said of Burstall, described as being healthy, an experienced independent traveller, an avid outdoors-person and youthful for her age.
Detectives are hopeful that someone will recognize Burstall or spot her car, a silver 2002 Mazda Protege with the B.C. Licence Plate 287 CFG. Given Burstall’s passion for being outdoors, Price said her vehicle may be parked at any one of Vancouver Island’s parks.
“She could be anywhere on Vancouver Island,” Price said. “There is nothing to indicate that she caught a ferry or caught a flight off the Island.”
A ground search was held earlier in the week.
There have been no transactions on her back account or credit card since she put gas in her car in Ladysmith.
“She’d never do this to the family, and she wouldn’t just disappear. She’s always been in contact. She’s never done anything like this,” said Chris Burstall, Shirley’s daughter. “Nothing that happened indicates she had any plans to go anywhere. It’s scary. It just doesn’t feel real.”
Shirley Burstall is described as a Caucasian woman, 5’7″ tall with a medium build and short, brown hair.
Saanich police are asking anyone with information on Shirley Burstall’s whereabouts to call 250-475-4321. If you see Burstall or spot her vehicle outside of Saanich, police ask that you contact your local law enforcement agency.