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No sign of Ft Smith man after air search
Brian Boucher last seen in Hay River in October

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, May 18, 2015

A search from the air along Highway 5 has failed to find any trace of a Fort Smith man missing since October.

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Brian Boucher was last seen in Hay River in October. - photo courtesy of RCMP

"There was nothing new uncovered from the search," said Hay River RCMP Sgt. Tyler Codling.

He said the search on May 9 was meant to look for any sign of the vehicle belonging to Brian Melvin Boucher or anything that might help locate the missing man.

The 52-year-old was last seen in Hay River on Oct. 25 while attending a college course. It is believed he was travelling on that date from Hay River to Fort Smith in his 1998 Ford F150, NWT licence plate 331317. Codling said a previous air search of the highway between Hay River and Fort Smith was conducted last fall shortly after Boucher went missing.

"But with the snow, the concern was that maybe they missed something," he said. "So they conducted the same process again from the air."

The route between Hay River and Fort Smith is about 265 km. The search was conducted by an RCMP aircraft from Yellowknife.

"A ground search gives you limited visibility," said Codling.

"From the air, they can see directly down to see if there were any vehicles or anything like that that could have been covered by snow for the winter. That's essentially what they were looking for, and they didn't see any sign of any vehicles."

The sergeant said the result of the search was disappointing because finding a vehicle might have helped solve the disappearance but this fact is also heartening because there was nothing found to indicate the missing man might have died somewhere along the route.

"The possibility that he's still alive is always hopeful," said Codling.

"Everyone is hoping that he's found alive somewhere."

The search was conducted by the RCMP's 'G' Division Major Crimes Unit in Yellowknife. Codling noted the Major Crimes Unit becomes involved in such a case when a person has been missing for a while and because foul play might be involved.

"There are other investigative avenues that will be followed, but some of them we can't really talk about while they're still ongoing," he said.

"Because we don't know what happened to him there's also an investigation to see if something criminal may have taken place, but I can't speak to that because that's an ongoing investigation."

However, he stressed foul play is just a possibility and no one knows why Boucher disappeared.

"It's completely unknown," he said. "We have no record of contact with him after the date he was reported missing."

The sergeant said the police will continue an ongoing process of talking to hunters, trappers and other land users in the Hay River/Fort Smith area. Boucher is described as six feet tall, 150 pounds, with short black hair, brown eyes and a light complexion. He is of Metis descent. The police are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts or his vehicle to call RCMP.

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