November 19, 2010

08/14/10: Owen Rooney, 24, Grand Forks, BC, Canada

Missing - Owen Rooney
Owen Rooney is missing.
Owen Rooney, 24, an electrician from Sydney, Australia, was on a working holiday at the Big White ski resort in Kelowna, British Columbia with his sisters Bree and Kelly. When the season was over, Owen decided to stay in the area for the summer and work at a local restaurant while his sisters headed to Vancouver.

Rooney had been to the Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, B.C. where, according to RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk, he ingested psilocybin mushrooms. "It was noted by his friends that this caused Owen a certain degree of paranoia and that he appeared a little confused," said Moskaluk. "He did seek medical attention at the medical tent during that festival."

While hitchhiking the 248 miles (400 km) back to Kelowna after the festival on August 13, Rooney trespassed on a Christina Lake property, repeatedly insisting that his friends were on the property. The property owner removed Rooney by force, and in the ensuing altercation, Rooney was struck in the face. (Kelowna News, 11/1/10).

It appears to have been the first time that Rooney had ever been in a fight, but the young man was badly beaten and may have become confused.

A short time later, Rooney was picked up in Christina Lake by a police officer who received a call about someone behaving oddly. The officer spotted Rooney wandering along Highway 3 with two black eyes and bleeding from his ears. He offered to take him to the hospital. When Rooney declined, the officer dropped him off at the Grand Forks bus depot, and Rooney purchased a ticket back to Kelowna. Rooney boarded the bus; he got off the bus a short time later and asked someone for directions to the hospital.

He left the bus station and did make it to Grand Forks Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks, B.C., where he was treated and spent the night, but he disappeared the following evening before he was formally discharged from the hospital.

Rooney was last seen around 8 p.m. on Oct. 14, sitting at a picnic table on the west side of the hospital. He left without his backpack which contained clothing and his cell phone. Discrepancies exist about whether Rooney's wallet was in the backpack.

"We don't know what has happened to him," Bree told the Daily Telegraph. "We're just appealing to anyone who has seen Owen or been in contact with him to get in touch with us."

The Search for Owen Rooney

Rooney's passport was left behind in his apartment in Kelowna. His bank accounts, credit cards, and Facebook page have not been accessed since he was last seen, and he has not picked up his paycheck.

Ground searches have yielded no clues.

His family has been handing out missing person leaflets and putting up posters between Grand Forks and Kelowna. They have also started a blog, At least three Facebook sites are also devoted to Owen Rooney's disappearance, and videos have been posted on You Tube, including a re-enactment video by the police.

On Nov. 26, reported that police on Vancouver Island had received four credible sightings of Rooney in the past month:

In three cases, the man was trying to sell homemade dream catchers door-to-door, and was accompanied by other people.
The first sighting happened in Nanaimo on Nov. 5., when a woman reported seeing said Rooney selling the homemade crafts with a man with dreadlocks and a Jamaican accent.

Four days later, Saanich police received a report of a man matching Owen's description.

The next day, a business owner in Parksville told police he sold her a dream catcher at her office.
Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Gary O'Brien said they've assigned a plainclothes unit to investigate, starting with checking cheap hotels and hostels in the area.
"A woman who insists she saw him said he looks in good health, he's polite, looks like he's staying somewhere inside. If he sells one of these crafts he could have money for a day or two, and the hostels are cheap."
Adeline Setterfield said Rooney came into her office in October trying to hawk his wares. She alerted police yesterday after seeing his picture on television.

‘When I saw his face it was like ‘bingo' – and he had an Australian accent," she told from her downtown Nanaimo office.

Setterfield said Rooney looked scruffy and needed a haircut, but otherwise seemed okay. She said the man told her he was travelling for "a cultural experience" and trying to save money.
Owen Rooney is 5'9", 160 pounds with very short brown hair. He has an Australian accent.  He also has two tattoos. On his right calf is an "Australian Made" logo with a kangaroo in a triangle. On his shoulder is a circle with a Celtic star around it. Click here to see photos. He was last seen wearing a dark shirt and three-quarter inch shorts.

Given the head injury Rooney suffered, it is possible that he may not know who he is.

If you have any information about Owen Rooney, please call:
Grand Forks RCMP 250-442-8288, Kelly Rooney: 778-686-3534 or Crimestoppers: 1-800-222-8477.

Facts of Interest
Name/age: Owen Rooney, 24
Last seen: 8/14/10, Grand Forks Boundary Hospital, Grand Forks, BC
Physical Description: 5'9", 160, Australian accent. Last seen wearing a dark shirt and shorts. Rooney has two tattoos. On his right calf is an "Australian Made" logo with a kangaroo in a triangle. On his shoulder is a circle with a Celtic star around it.  Click here to see photos of his tattoos.
Investigating Agency: Grand Forks Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 250-442-8288


Sharron said...

This is a great article. Thank you from the family. The only piece of information to be corrected is the date. Owen went missing on August 14 2010. Thank you for helping spread the word. With Love, The Rooneys

Lisa said...

Oh, goodness! Thank you for letting me know! I have updated the post with the correct date. I truly hope that you find Owen. My thoughts and prayers are with you all! And please don't hesitate to let me know if there is ever anything I can do!

Monique777 said...

This is really a sad and disturbing story. Why the heck did the property owner believe he had the right to beat this young man to the point of two back eyes and bleeding from his ears? The property owner should have called the police but instead behaved horribly. It is obvious Owen was confused and needed help-not a beating. That is IF the beating really came from the property owner as reported. Can we really be certain there wasn't a hostile confrontation with the police, which prompted them to take him to the hospital?

My prayers are with the family for Owens safe return home. Hopefully he is out there and just confused from the head injury. I am wondering if local shelters have been checked. It's colder outside now than it was in August so he may be seeking warmth. I hope he is found soon.

FleaStiff said...

Several possible sightings on or near Vancouver Island all follow one sighting said to involve door to door salesmen but it seems none of the neighbors recall any such salesmen of any description or any accent.

Press reports have downgraded his condition to black eyes and facial bruising and make no mention of bleeding from the ears or his mental disorientation or inappropriate administration of morphine.

jess said...

Wow. I found this on WS and it seems very likely this may be what happened to Owen. if you go to the link you'll see a family's first hand account of what happened to their son/brother(with pictures). Amazing.

cut and pasted from Websleuths:

In a Tuesday Feb 1 FB post by Jason R, he claims that Owen was in Edmonton Capilano area selling Jason's boss a shell sun catcher.

This brings me back to the company those widgets are associated with. One of the owners is JA who is a long-time Moonie. For an extensive read on one Canadian family's rescue and deprogramming of their son/brother (with specific references to JA) read the following online book. I warn you, it's about a 1/2 hour read, but has lots of info on how these groups operate:

If you want the version with pics, you have to click on the link at the top of the page that takes you to the pdf version. It bogged my computer down but is worth the perseverence.

Although Ron Tassie's rescue was in 1981, Art Tassie's article was last year. I hope Owen's family can be in contact with some of the folks in that article who may be able to help in their search through the maize of Moonie madness. The group may have ceased activity due to weather, but maybe the Tassies or the Bowermans, or even the PI or LE who were involved at the time would know the current address the group uses in Alberta. It's also possible they have moved back into BC to get away from the more severe Alberta weather.

I know the Rooney's don't have a ton of money to be chasing shadows, but in this case, it seems the most concrete bits of information they have to go on are:

A) Owen reportedly being seen on numerous occasions selling dreamcatchers/suncatchers door-to-door
B) The dreamcatchers being linked back to a specific company
C) the co-owner of that specific company having an extensive affiliation with the Unification Church aka Moonies
D) The Moonies are known to actively sell widgets door-to-door

Just a thought, but given JA's connection to Kelowna, i have to wonder if Owen had some prior acquaintance with him and called him to ask for his help when he was at the hospital in Grand Forks.

jess said...

here's another post from WS:

I have just joined this forum as I've been working on trying to find Owen Rooney myself. I've independently come to the same conclusions as others on this forum, that he is with the Moonies (unification church). The links are too clear in my opinion: the dreamcatchers he has been reported as selling come from a particular company (already mentioned in this forum). The owner of that company is very clearly a Moonie.

Initially I thought that amnesia could be an explanation for his bizarre disappearance, but I no longer believe this to be the case.

There are other things that puzzle me. Why has Owen's ex-gf being pretty unco-operative in terms of giving information? Does anyone know who this girl is? It was allegedly Owen's belief that this girl was on a farm that led to Owen being bashed up. Is this girl in the Moonies? How did their relationship end? Is this girl under the control of the Moonies? Did the fact that Owen going to the alleged farm to retrieve his his ex-gf, is that because Owen thought the Moonies had her under their control and he thought that he was going to rescue her?

Who are all the many friends that Owen has in Kelowna? Has anyone checked them out and whether any of them have links to the Moonies? What about the restuarant Owen workd in in Kelowna - do any of the workers there have associations with the Moonies?

The research I have read says that the effect of the Magic Mushrooms Owen is alleged to have taken at Shambahlah only last for up to 10 hours. Is my understanding correct that he spent 3 days in the medical tent at Shambahlah? If so, why did he spend so long in the tent? The psychotic effects of the mushrooms would have long worn off. What sorts of things was Owen saying in that medical tent that others discounted as psychotic ramblings? Maybe there was some truth in them. Maybe they weren't psychotic ramblings, maybe they were actually true and realistic fears he had. I mean he was bashed senseless not long after wasn't he. So, what was he saying to these medical people?

Someone who has recently been in a drug-induced state like Owen was reported to be in, would certainly be an easy target for brain-washing. The disconnection with self that is brought about by drugs is a similar state to the dissociative disconnect that is needed to brainwash someone. Interestingly trauma, like the bashing that Owen received, also results in the same dissociative disconnect that would enable brainwashing to occur more easily.

When I was around Owen's age I attended a couple of services of a church while I was on holidays in Queensland, Australia. The people were exceptionally lovely and within a day or two I'd been invited to stay at one of their houses for as long as I wanted, and who wouldn't say no to an offer of free accomodation - I certainly wasn't going to. But I pretty soon freaked out as they had me on the go from the crack of dawn to late at night and I was so sleep deprived I could hardly think. It was hard for me to get out of there, the emotional blackmail was very heavy, but I almost ran from the place and drove 26 hours non-stop across 3 states to get back to the safety of home - I was absolutely terrified. And the thing was, I'd had training about cults and how to recognize them, which is probably what saved me - I twigged that they were a cult and had all the classic characteristics of a cult. If I'd not have that specialized training, maybe I too could have ended up like Owen. So yes, these things do happen. Travellers without connections and young people make very easy targets for cults.


there's more at link

FleaStiff said...

While Moonie involvement is always a possibility they would be unlikely to put a vulnerable person out as a salesman rather than laborer.

I would doubt his wallet was in his backpack but if it were do you think he would be likely to have ambled away from it?

I think whatever happened to him, happened right there in Grand Forks, BC.

FleaStiff said...

The mother and father of Owen Rooney are reported to have recently returned to Australia. RCMP efforts, if any, continue to prove fruitless.

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