Dewi Griffiths and Shawnene Nicholls of Cowichan SAR brief members of several search and rescue groups on what is planned for the day early Saturday morning. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

“Today, we bring Ben Kilmer home!” Shawnene Nicholls of Cowichan Search and Rescue told the assembled searchers before they headed out Saturday morning.

It marks three days of searching since Vancouver Island dad Ben Kilmer was reported missing. His vehicle was found with the engine running Wednesday afternoon along the rural Cowichan Lake Road.

Overnight Friday, Cowichan Search and Rescue (SAR) moved its search headquarters to the field behind the Sahtlam Fire Hall, just a short distance west of the place on Cowichan Lake Road, east of Menzies where they’d been working from Thursday and Friday.

Dewi Griffiths and Shawnene Nicholls led the 8:30 a.m. briefing for all the searchers, who included personnel from Cowichan, Salt Spring Island, Metchosin, and Peninsula SAR teams plus the Ladysmith-Cowichan Swiftwater team.

READ MORE: Blood found in missing man’s vehicle

Leaders give searchers their orders before they head out to look for missing Ben Kilmer on Friday morning. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)


GoFundMe page launched by friends to fund helicopter

Friends of Kilmer’s family have now setup a GoFundMe page, looking to raise enough funds for a private helicopter to help with the ongoing search efffort.

In a post on Facebook, Tonya, Kilmer’s wife urged anyone who could to come and help with the search.

“I believe in every ounce of my being that we are close,” she said.

“I need drones, helicopters, planes!! Anything and everything! He is there!”

Ben Kilmer has been missing since Wednesday evening in the Cowichan Valley. (Facebook)

Search changes focus to Cowichan River

At the search headquarters Saturday morning, there were a good number of members of the public who showed up to help out in the search.

The search is now moving more towards the Cowichan River, and the combing of the area that had been grid-searched yesterday is now complete. Plans were being made to get the searchers access to the river as needed.

Kilmer, 41, vanished Wednesday. His white van was found, still running, by the side of Cowichan Lake Road and by late that same night a search had been launched. On Thursday, more teams from across the Island joined the effort.

There has been a concerted effort among the public, too, as friends and family wait for Kilmer’s return.

“This man was really loved. We all know that,” said Nicholls as she encouraged the SAR crews.

With files from Ashley Wadhwani

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors after a threatening note was found posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
ROAM warns Peninsula cat owners after threatening note posted in neighbourhood

Note writer doesn’t want cats pooping in their yard, threatens to trap them

Police are looking to identify suspects in an Oct. 10 report of mischief in at a construction site in the 2800-block of Peatt Road in Langford. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP seeks suspects after trio spray paints Langford construction site

Three individuals caught on camera hopping a fence on Peatt Road

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read