Tuesday, Aug. 14 saw the two-year anniversary of Australian Owen Kiernan Rooney’s disappearance.
He was last seen at Grand Forks’ Boundary Hospital in 2010; left behind his cellphone and backpack and while there have been a number of reported sightings, none have bore fruit.
According to Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel of the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment, the investigation is still open and the last tips of note occurred in late spring.
Seibel says the most recent report came from a gas station in Rock Creek on June 2.
“An individual saw someone that resembled Owen Rooney,” Seibel explained. “A report was made, a vehicle was checked, where this individual was allegedly travelling in, and it was ruled out that it was Owen Rooney.”
Seibel also said there was a sighting at Bragg Creek, Alta. on May 11, at a gas station but there was no video surveillance and while some inquiries were made, they were exhausted, so there could be no confirmation.
On May 24, a person with a tattoo similar to Rooney was spotted on Facebook – Rooney has a kangaroo tattoo on his right calf and a Celtic star on his left shoulder.
But after talking to the person in Vernon, B.C., RCMP determined that it was not Owen Rooney.
The Rooney family (father Steve, mother Sharron, brother Sean and sisters Kelly and Bree) spent time in Canada searching for Owen but have since returned to Australia.
Sharron Rooney said that they returned both physically and financially exhausted and don’t want to be overwhelmed by Owen’s disappearance.
“We have worked very hard to make sure that this experience is only part of our lives and doesn’t consume our lives,” Sharron said via email. “We search for Owen with the love of him and not the loss of him. This love is the thread that keeps our family together and guides our continuing search.”
Sharron said they still keep in touch with the B.C. RCMP but the contact is minimal and while the family is back in Australia, the search has not stopped.
“We still have friends who are putting up posters and keeping awareness up as much as possible,” Sharron Rooney explained. “We still have the website (www.find-owen.com) and the Facebook page is still very active. I am sure there are many people in the Grand Forks area who are still very aware. I know our friends in the search and rescue will be vigilant on their training events.”
When asked what’s next, Sharron Rooney said that the family will continue efforts to locate Owen.
“Each day is a new day and no one knows what will happen tomorrow. We still have trust that Owen will return to us and we will have resolution,” Sharron Rooney went on to say.
Owen Rooney stands 1.75 metres (five feet, nine inches) and weighs 73 kilograms (161 pounds). He was last seen sporting short brown hair and has the aforementioned two tattoos.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Grand Forks RCMP at 250-442-8288, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or through the website set up by the family (www.find-owen.com).