RCMP seek mystery man in Nicole Hoar case
The RCMP have released a description of a man they would like to speak with as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Nicole Hoar, a 25-year-old tree planter who went missing near Prince George, B.C., in 2002.
Investigators believe the man may have information about the whereabouts of Hoar during the weekend she disappeared.
"Of note, he has a pronounced jagged scar on the left side of his neck," Cpl. Annie Linteau, an RCMP spokesperson, told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
"In 2002, he had shoulder-length brown hair or black hair, was in his mid-50s, had a scruffy appearance and was a smoker."
Linteau said investigators released a description of the man after they received close to 100 tips from the public.
RCMP began searching a two-hectare wooded property west of Prince George on Thursday. Search and rescue dogs from Alberta, that are trained to detect human remains, have arrived on the site, Linteau said. Investigators are also using radar to detect anything unusual underground.
The property was previously owned by a convicted murderer named Leland Vincent Switzer. He killed his brother two days after Hoar disappeared, and is serving a life sentence in prison.
On Saturday, the search expanded to include a local dump. Officers have since completed their work there, Linteau said.
"We were not expecting to locate any remains at that location, but we were searching for discarded items that could have been of interest," Linteau said.
One of those items was an abandoned yellow pickup truck that investigators are examining.
Hoar, who was from Red Deer, Alta., vanished while hitchhiking along Highway 16 near Prince George. She had been travelling to Smithers, B.C., to visit her sister. The search is taking place 30 kilometres from the gas station where she was last seen.
"We are supportive of the police investigation and hoping it may further their investigation into the case of our missing daughter," the Hoar family said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "Our thoughts continue to be with Nicole."
"Nicole is just one of many missing persons in that area and our thoughts continue to be with their families as well."
Since 1969, 18 women have gone missing along the same route. The 800-kilometre stretch of road connects Prince George to Prince Rupert, B.C. It has become known as the Highway of Tears.
Families of the missing women have asked for a public inquiry into the unsolved cases. In 2006, the RCMP launched a special investigation into the disappearances.
Police said the current owners of the property are not suspects and have no connection to the case. But last Thursday, Linteau confirmed that a former owner of the property is of interest to police.
Prince George is the largest city in Northern B.C. It's located about 800 kilometres north of Vancouver.
With files from The Canadian Press