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Search and rescue comes up empty

Civilian search and rescue crews have completed the search around an Edson-area campground in their attempt to find a missing St. Albert couple, but have come up empty-handed.

Civilian search and rescue crews have completed the search around an Edson-area campground in their attempt to find a missing St. Albert couple, but have come up empty-handed.

Doris Stapleton, a spokesperson for the RCMP confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the teams had completed their search for Lyle Thomas McCann, 78 and Marie Ann McCann, 77.

“They did a wide search in that area and it is now completed,” she said.

The missing couple’s motorhome was found completely burned out near the Minnow Lake campground. Search and rescue team had spread out from there looking for any sign of the couple.

The McCanns left St. Albert in their motorhome on July 3 around 9 a.m. for a vacation in Chilliwack, B.C.

They were supposed to meet up with a family member in Abbotsford this past Saturday, but never arrived and were reported missing soon after.

The mystery around the couple’s disappearance has only continued to grow since they were first reported missing.

Edson RCMP attempted to contact the owners of the motorhome as part of their investigation into the fire, but it was not until family members reported them missing to the St. Albert detachment on Saturday that they realized the severity of the incident.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Sgt. Patrick Webb with the RCMP said the force has done aerial searches around the Edson area in addition to the ground search.

He said they desperately need information from the public to help find them.

“At this point in time the focus is on finding the McCanns and we need public help in doing this.”

He said anyone who may have seen either vehicle or the couple should contact the police.

The pair was last seen filling up their vehicle at the Superstore gas station on St. Albert Trail at around 9:25 on July 3.

The motorhome was a 1999 Gulf Stream Voyager, painted green and white. Even though they have located it, police are looking for anyone who might have seen it between July 3 and July 5.

The Hyundai Tucson, which is still missing, is light green with Alberta licence plate ZPK-289.

The McCanns’ eldest son Bret McCann also spoke at Tuesday’s press conference and said his parents are responsible travellers who loved the open road. He said the family is shocked by their disappearance, but are hoping for the best.

“Our whole family is just devastated, from my father and mother’s siblings to my brother and sister and our children, it is just devastating to us all,” he said. “I am hoping that they maybe got waylaid, maybe the Hyundai got stuck somewhere. I am hoping they’re out there somewhere in the bush.”

He said he believes his parents, who have lived in St. Albert since 1964, were headed to Blue River, B.C. on the first day of their trip. His father was a retired long haul trucker, who considered the motorhome his “pride and joy.” He doesn’t think he would have stopped near Edson.

The RCMP has faced criticism for not doing more after the motorhome was found burned. Webb said it is not unusual for RCMP officers to come across burned-out vehicles and the motorhome did not initially overly concern police.

“It is a crime, but it was not that serious a crime because it was a property crime, not a person crime,” he said. “In a perfect world those steps would have been taken right away, but we just can’t do that with every burned vehicle, I myself have probably done a dozen of these over my career.”

He said Edson RCMP did contact the St. Albert detachment to try and contact the registered owners of the motorhome. The force is now doing a complete review to try and determine exactly what took place.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the St. Albert RCMP at 780 458-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.