A legal proceeding marked an unfortunate reality last week as a provincial court judge declared missing St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann legally dead.
The decision comes days before for a Saturday memorial service for the couple. The Gazette ran an obituary for the couple Saturday and Wednesday.
The couple’s son Bret McCann said the legal process is parting of bringing closure to his parents’ lives.
“It is over a year now and we accept the fact that my parents are gone and this allows us to start handling their affairs.”
The McCanns disappeared more than a year ago while heading out on a vacation to British Columbia. In the year since their motorhome has been found burned out, an SUV they were towing behind it was found on an isolated road and Travis Edward Vader was identified as a person of interest and then named a suspect.
Vader remains in custody on unrelated charges. No one has been charged in the McCanns’ disappearance.
Bret said that, despite the legal declaration and the planned memorial, they are more determined than ever to find answers.
“We are reaching closure on my parents and kind of laying them to rest, but by no means are we going to take our eyes off the ball in terms of finding my parents or finding out what happened to them,” he said. “It gnaws at me and it gnaws at all of us, all the time and we need to know that answer.”
Bret said the family has continued to meet with RCMP investigators and he is pleased to see the police are still actively pursuing the case. He could not go into details, but said they seem to have a way forward.
“They have an approach laid out here and they can see clearly what they need to do.”
The family has scheduled a memorial service for this Saturday at the St. Albert Catholic Church for 11 a.m. Bret said the family is inviting the public to attend because of the tremendous support they have received from the community.
He said the date marks what would have been the couple’s 59th wedding anniversary and the family wants a formal opportunity to remember their life together. “We are viewing it more as a celebration of their life than a funeral.”
Bret also said people in St. Albert had been immensely helpful in the investigation, helping raise $60,000 for a reward for information about the disappearance. The reward is still available for anyone with information about the crime through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.