Although the massive air and ground search for Nicole Doreen Hoar has been called off, family say efforts to find their missing daughter are just getting started.
Family of the 25-year-old Red Deer hitchhiker missing since last month said that efforts by 65 search and rescue personnel and close to 100 local volunteers have only been put “on hold” until a clue that focuses the search which ranged over 24,800 square kilometres between Prince George and Smithers over the weekend can be found.
“We’re going to start training for the marathon, because none of us are going to give up,” said Michelle Hoar Nicole’s sister as she fought back tears during a hastily-assembled Tuesday press conference. “We’re going to find her.”
“We have a wonderful crew of friends, tree-planters and family here to help,” said her father, Jack Hoar. “They’re charged and ready to go. We have not given up, and we won’t give up.”
RCMP called off the air and ground search after four days and with no success in finding clues pointing to Nicole’s location.
Michelle said family and friends would be spreading pamphlets with Nicole’s picture beyond the original Smithers to Prince George scope of the search to as far as Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands.
“We’re going to get the word out there and get enough people knowing about it that we find her.”
Along with the massive pamphlet and poster campaign undertaken by searchers and family members, a $25,000 cash reward for information that leads to Nicole is being offered by her father’s 34-year employer, the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The company will also be posting and distributing pamphlets in all of their Hudson’s Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and Fields stores in B.C., said senior vice-president Kamy Scarlet.
Jack said the support from his employer and from members of the communities of Red Deer, Prince George, and Smithers has been phenomenal.
The family’s first day in Prince George a stranger met them in the lobby of the RCMP offices downtown and offered free accommodations for family and friends of Nicole’s. Other people have offered food, support during search efforts, and prayers, said Jack. The family also praised the efforts of RCMP, search and rescue members, and other volunteers, who have combed the sides of approximately 5,000 kilometres of roads in the search so far.
RCMP Constable Mike Herchuk said 12 officers from both the city detachment and North District RCMP have been assigned to investigate Nicole’s sudden disappearance. As of Tuesday afternoon more than 220 tips had been received, but nothing so far has pointed police in the right direction.
“That’s what we need right now. We need that focus,” he said. “It was 2 p.m. on a major highway. Somebody saw something. That piece of info you’re holding may seem insignificant, but it could be the key to cracking this investigation.”
Hoar had a week off and planned to hitchhike from Prince George to Smithers to visit her sister and take in the annual Midsummer Festival. Her friends gave her a lift to the Mohawk gas station off of Highway 16 at Gauthier Road near the western-most edge of the city on June 21 and waved good-bye, expecting to see her six days later at the reforestation camp she worked at. She never arrived.
Hoar is described as Caucasian and stands 173 centimetres (5’8″) and weighs 59 kilograms (130 pounds). She has collar-length brown hair, blue eyes and wears glasses or contact lenses. She was last seen wearing beige capri pants, a grey, short-sleeve shirt and sandals. She may also be wearing or carrying a red t-shirt with the word Ravens’ on it, hiking boots or a purple and black backpack.
Anyone with information about Hoar’s whereabouts is asked to contact the RCMP or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.