David Michael Jeff, 67, is still missing after he evacuated from Williams Lake on Saturday, July 15. Angie Mindus photo

Hope fades in finding vulnerable B.C. wildfire evacuee

A 67-year-old Williams Lake man has not been seen or heard from in four months since evacuating to Kamloops

Now that winter has arrived, a homelessness worker in Williams Lake said his hope is dimming that David Michael Jeff is OK.

“I was hoping once winter arrived that David would tap in somewhere and connect with someone,” said Wayne Lucier, who works with Canadian Mental Health Cariboo Chilcotin Branch in Williams Lake. “I don’t think someone would be letting him stay with them this long without letting somebody know.”

Jeff, 67, was among the residents of Williams Lake who were evacuated on Saturday, July 15. He was last seen in Kamloops on Aug. 4.

One of the people who saw Jeff in Kamloops during the evacuation was Ollie Martens.

“He was standing about a block from the main emergency centre,” Martens said. “I said ‘hi David’ and he had that little grin of his that is just his.”

Martens volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul and enjoyed serving Jeff soup in Boitanio Park on Sundays.

“He is our lovable friend,” she said. “We gave him mitts constantly because he would lose them all the time, but he is one of those types of people who has to handle things on their own terms.”

Lucier said the “sad part” is CMHA had to let someone else move into Jeff’s apartment at Jubilee Place in Williams Lake where he had been living since April 2015.

Jubilee Place is a 33-unit transitional housing facility that opened in 2010 at a former motel that specifically houses people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“His Old Age Pension money is still coming in and we don’t know how long we can keep that going, but if we stop them it would take a long time to get it started up again,” Lucier said.

Esk’etemc Chief Charlene Belleau organized a large search party for Jeff in Kamloops, that eventually moved to Kelowna based on a possible sighting of Jeff there.

Belleau said Tuesday she has heard nothing new about him.

Jeff is described as Aboriginal, standing five feet and five inches tall, weighing 146 pounds, with grey shoulder-length hair and brown eyes.

Staff and patrons of the local rink and pool complex in Williams Lake said they miss seeing Jeff, who regularly spent time at the complex to stay out of the elements, and enjoyed watching hockey.

Just Posted

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

News came in a Tweet from the U.S. Department of State

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Castlegar Rebels take flight in win over Grand Forks

Team speed was too much for the visiting Grand Forks Border Bruins to handle.

Property crime on the rise in Grand Forks: RCMP

Grand Forks RCMP sat down with the Gazette to talk property crime and community solutions.

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Four-month-old baby girl critically injured in Toronto

Baby, a man and a woman in serious condition

Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

What were Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

Most Read