Skip to content

Family determined to keep looking after official search ends for man in Youbou area

Cowichan Search and Rescue were told to stand down after a week-long large-scale search for Nicholas Marion, 38, by ground, air and water
Nicholas Marion, 38, went missing in the Youbou area on June 30. VIA LAKE COWICHAN RCMP

The search for a 38-year-old Victoria man who went missing in Youbou over the Canada Day weekend has been called off by the RCMP.

Nicholas Marion was last seen June 30 at 6:30 a.m. leaving a family friend’s home at 11439 Youbou Rd., after saying he was going for a walk.

His wife, Dory Marion, said he left without a cellphone, wallet or jacket.

Cowichan Search and Rescue launched a search by ground, air and water, but were told by the RCMP to stand down on Saturday evening. An operations base at Pine Point Campground, across from the home where the couple was staying, has been dismantled.

From 6 a.m. to nightfall every day, searchers scoured the area Nicholas Marion was last seen, said Jamie Tudway-Cains, president and search manager for Cowichan Search and Rescue, but few clues were found.

Cameras on residential and other buildings in the area were checked, as was transportation off the Island, including B.C. Ferries, airports, buses and highways.

The area Nicholas Marion was last seen was searched by ground with dogs in a circular pattern and by air with helicopters. In the latter part of the week, water was covered by boat and drones.

The decision to end the search is a mutual one that involves Cowichan Search and Rescue and the family, but is ultimately the RCMP’s call, said Tudway-Cains.

“I can’t even imagine how the family’s feeling,” he said, adding it’s also difficult for searchers. “From a searcher’s standpoint, it is by far one of the hardest things we have to deal with. … We’ve been on there for seven days straight.”

A critical-incident stress-management team was at the command post the final two days for searchers who had to walk away from the search without a resolution.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we covered the area appropriately and at some point the RCMP needs to stand us down — there’s a lot of resources going to a search like this.”

Dory Marion said on social media Monday that searching will continue, even though the official search has ended. She said family and friends need to “re-organize and re-strategize,” which will require “more volunteers than ever.”

“Don’t forget about Nick,” she said. “Please don’t give up hope that we will find him and he will be healthy and confused but not gone. He is a loving kind husband and friend. He is a gift to this world and he has so much more to share with us here.

“Let’s find him and bring him home. I refuse to think that he’s lost forever.”

Dory Marion is asking people to hike in the search area between Pine Point and Maple Grove campgrounds and beyond. She advises volunteer searchers to hike in pairs, track their hikes using a GPS tracker such as, stay hydrated and dress appropriately. She is also asking for donations via gofundme to involve specialized search teams.

Tudway-Cains said the entire community helped in the search. “I think a lot of the time it’s actually quite surprising to families as to how much the community gets together to do these kind of things,” he said.

Cowichan Search and Rescue searchers were given an air-conditioned space in the Youbou Fire Department hall for the week to help members recover from the heat, and local businesses, including Country Grocer and Tim Hortons, provided refreshments. “They were all there for us with food and water,” said Tudway-Cains. “It’s just a huge help. I can’t thank them enough.”

Tudway-Cains said the wrapup of the official search is not necessarily the end of the road. “We could be called back today, we could be called back next week or we could be called back next year.”

In the meantime, search and rescue members will train in the area, keeping an eye out for clues, Tudway-Cains said. It’s not uncommon for search and rescue teams to train in an area where a search hasn’t been resolved.

Sebastian Thuot, Marion’s stepson, said in an interview Monday that eight days of hiking more than 20 kilometres through the bush, organizing a search effort and “managing really intense emotions” have burnt out much of the family, though Nicholas Marion’s father, cousin and sister are still in the area. The end of the official search opens the opportunity for independent search teams, he said. “We’ve got a lot of Nick’s friends who are really eager to go out and do work to try and spread the word.”

Thuot said he and mother Dory Marion returned to Victoria on Sunday. “We’re all still feeling hopeful that maybe we’ll find some answers.”

In some ways, not knowing what happened is delaying the onset of grief, Thuot said.

The family hopes new clues will be found over the summer, he said, noting the area where Nicholas Marion was last seen is one of the most travelled on Vancouver Island.

A Facebook group has been created to co-ordinate search efforts, but any tips and possible sightings should be directed to Lake Cowichan RCMP or local police, Thuot said.

Nicholas Marion is described as six feet tall, about 170 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a short beard.

He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, black jogging pants and black retro Nike Air Jordan 11 sneakers.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668.

[email protected]

[email protected]

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks