Half a decade after her son went missing from the Pemberton backcountry, Lise Grenier clings to the hope that there's a clue out there that could finally offer some answers to his mysterious disappearance.
Vancouver residents Jonathan Jetté and Rachael Bagnall have been missing since they left for a multi-day hike in the Pemberton area around the Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks in September 2010. No evidence has ever been found of their whereabouts despite repeated searches by police and rescue teams.
Grenier, a Montreal native, returned to Pemberton this month — as she's done every year since the couple's disappearance — to put up missing posters, speak with locals, and follow new leads.
But what she really wants is closure.
"We want to know what happened to Jonathan and Rachael," Grenier said. "I can't leave my son out there. I can't. When I think about it, I cry. I can't leave him there."
The investigation into the couple's whereabouts has remained "quite active," said Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair, with tips coming in regularly.
On Tuesday, Aug. 25, police scoured the area around Valentine Lake by air and foot after a red splotch matching the colour of Bagnall's jacket was recently identified from an aerial photo taken around the time of the couple's disappearance.
"Once we got into the terrain, we were able to see there was nothing there that matched (the photograph)," LeClair said.
Police are also following up on a lead from a witness who claimed to have spoken with Jetté and Bagnall before their hike.
"(The witness) spoke to a couple that wanted to hike in the area, but we're not confident that he spoke to the missing couple," explained LeClair. "However, more work needs to be done to investigate that tip and it is being done."
Despite coming away empty-handed once again, LeClair remains optimistic.
"I'm always hopeful that something will come to fruition, especially given the fact that we've had a really low snow year and new evidence might be uncovered," he said. "Really the best bet is that somebody will stumble across something that will lead us to finding their remains."
Grenier, meanwhile, is asking hikers to keep an eye out for any sign of the couple, particularly around Spetch Creek, where Jetté's car was left. Anyone with relevant information can contact Grenier on the Jonathan Jetté and Rachael Bagnall Facebook page.
"I want my son back. I want him back so badly," she said. "I miss him."
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