August 3, 2010

04/29/07: Jeffrey Surtel, Mission, BC, Canada

On April 29, 2007, 17-year old Jeffrey Surtel disappeared after leaving his family's home in Mission, British Columbia, sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. He was last seen by neighbors who spotted him riding off on his distinctive blue CCM mountain bike with yellow front forks.

Jeffrey's parents, Gary and Dawn, still look into the face of every kid on a bike or wearing a hoodie similar to what Jeff had been wearing, hoping to find their son. They long to find their son--and for some answers.

In a press conference at Matsqui State Park in August 2009, Gary Surtel told the media, "We're asking anyone who saw his bike at the [Mission] bridge to contact us. We just want to know where the bike was found, because that will determine where to start looking for Jeff."

The search for Jeffrey Surtel
The night before Jeffrey disappeared, he had helped his father pick a movie from the video store around 6 p.m. The family had planned to watch the movie after Gary and his wife returned from a birthday party. But when they returned home, at about 9 p.m., Jeff had changed his mind.

“Something happened between six and nine when, all of a sudden, he didn’t want to watch it. I don’t know what happened, Gary Surtel said.” [Mission City Record, April 24, 2008]

Gary said Jeffrey instead stayed up late watching television, and when the family checked his bedroom the next morning, Jeffrey's bed hadn’t been slept in.

The family does not think Jeff ran away or was contemplating suicide. He left behind $200 in cash, his bank cards, and didn't take any clothes.

They also don't believe he was contemplating suicide. "He seemed absolutely normal," Gary Surtel said. "He didn’t seem like a person contemplating harming yourself. You would think if you were going to kill yourself you would be different.”

Gary Surtel added, “He’s very quiet ... the happiest, perfect kid you could ever ask for. He was never in a bad mood. He was so easy to raise and have around, and this is just out of the blue. There’s no inkling that this could ever have happened. It just came from nowhere, which makes it scary.”

Despite a poster campaign and intensive searches of the area, no trace of Surtel has been found. Dog were brought in to scour the river bank and the wooded area between Fraser River Heritage Park and St. Mary's, and they turned up nothing. According to another report, the Victoria Search and Rescue also brought in "highly sophisticated sonar equipment to scan the Fraser River bottom from Matsqui to the Mission Bridge. This sonar is able to probe up to three feet through silt. The SAR team found nothing."

One strange occurrence has caught the family's attention. In 2008, The Record reported on the theft of a valuable cross from Westminster Abbey. The report also mentioned that the thief left behind a missing person's poster, as well as some other items. Gary Surtel told the paper that he learned from someone at the monastery that the poster left behind was of his missing son.

Police did not confirm whether the report was accurate and it was Jeff Surtel's missing poster, but the idea that it might be true has haunted the Surtel family.

The Mission RCMP is seeking assistance from the public in helping to locate Jeffrey Surtel. If anyone has any information, please contact the Mission RCMP at 604-826-7161.

Case Details
Name/age: Jeffrey Stuart Surtel, 17
Last seen: 4/29/07, Mission, British Columbia, Canada
Physical Description: Caucasian approximately 6'1," 150 lbs, has medium length brown hair, brown eyes. He has thin rimmed glasses, brown eyes and no facial hair. He was last seen wearing dark coloured jeans, a navy coloured t-shirt and a blue hooded sweater, possibly riding a distinctive blue mountain bike with yellow front forks and a single-shock suspension system.
Links: Facebook search page.

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