The family of a man who vanished while snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain on Christmas Day 2016 has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court to declare him presumed dead.
The petition was filed in court Sept. 11 by the sister and parents of Roy Lee, who has been missing for 21 months.
“The petitioners have no reason to believe that Roy is living,” and “reasonable grounds exist for supposing that Roy is deceased,” the family stated in their petition.
Mail, including bills and MSP statements, still arrives at the Vancouver home where Lee lived with his parents prior to his disappearance, and his bank accounts have been frozen.
Having Lee declared dead would allow life insurance to be paid out and give the family closure, according to the petition.
Lee, 43, and a friend, Chun Sek Lam, 64, disappeared after going snowshoeing on Dec. 25, 2016. Both men were members of a hiking group for Chinese-speaking people. Lee was an avid hiker and had been snowshoeing for two years prior to his disappearance, according to the legal suit.
After Lee’s car was found in the ski hill’s parking lot by staff at the end of the day on Dec. 25, North Shore Rescue and the West Vancouver Police Department mounted a search for the men, which was hampered by weather, including heavy snowfall and avalanche danger. The search was also complicated by the fact the two men hadn’t told anyone where they were going.
According to searchers, the last time one of their cellphones “pinged” a local tower, it put them north of Mount Strachan, near St. Mark’s off the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
The search was eventually called off after about a week.
In May 2017, West Vancouver Police told Lee’s sister that items which may have belonged to Lee and Lam had been found in the Capilano Reservoir area. Those included a boot, snowshoe and an iPhone.
“As a result of this discovery North Shore Rescue conducted a further search both by air and by foot. Nothing further was discovered at that time,” according to the lawsuit. A further helicopter search including an extensive search of the Strachan Creek and reservoir area was conducted in August 2017 but turned up nothing.
West Vancouver Police spokesman Const. Jeff Palmer said there have been no new developments, despite the searches and extensive publicity about the missing men.