|Missing - Owen Rooney|
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, http://www.find-owen.com/. 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, CTV.ca 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.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.
‘When I saw his face it was like ‘bingo' – and he had an Australian accent," she told ctvbc.ca 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.
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