April 27, 2012

03/17/12: David Christian, 27, Whistler, BC, Canada

David Christian
David Christian, 27, was last seen by friends on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 11 p.m. at Merlin's Bar and Grill in Whistler, British Columbia.

The Ireland native, called "Irish Dave" by friends, was a seasonal worker at Whistler Blackcomb and had been celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a large group. He sent a text message to a friend around 2:30 a.m., but no one heard from him after that.

According to Pique News Magazine, David Christian missed a scheduled flight he was to take to Vancouver on Sunday, where he planned to attend mass, but because he worked "opposite shifts to his roommate and close friend Matt Gore, he wasn't reported missing until he failed to show up to work on Monday morning."

The Search for David Christian

The search for David then began immediately, "with ski patrol avalanche dogs, RCMP dog teams, Search and Rescue, volunteers from the community and staff at Whistler Blackcomb," reported the magazine.

Another newspaper, The Question, says the avalanche dog teams were dispatched to the lower slopes of Blackcomb Mountain because Christian lived in staff housing.

On Wednesday, March 21, a pair of shoes were found on the 15th fairway of the Fairmont Chateau Golf Course. Police and Whistler Search and Rescue then followed footprints through the snow and conducted a search of the area. 


That day, David Christian's body was found in nearby Horstman Creek, which runs through the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course. There were no signs of foul play and observations at the scene suggested that Christian died of hypothermia. 
"Friends now believe," according to Pique, "that Christian may have gotten on the wrong bus to the Benchlands instead of to Staff Housing. From there they suspect he followed the wrong trail into the woods and became disorientated while trying to take a shortcut home...the investigation is still continuing."

A report by the coroner released in November 2012 upheld the initial findings. That report determined that Christian died as a result of hypothermia, with acute alcohol intoxication "considered a contributing factor in his death."

After David was found, Marie Christian, his mother, told the paper that she hoped the death of her son will help promote the idea of using the buddy system.

"Men would never let a girl walk home alone--I know David wouldn't," she said. "But men (don't do the same) for each other," she said. "If one guy says, 'I'm going home,' and another says 'I'll go with you,' that could save a life. I know if two got lost in the woods, it would have been okay."

She at least feels some measure of peace at having called her son a few hours before he disappeared. According to Pique, "They spoke a little about work and plans for the summer, and whom he was celebrating the day with. He cut it short because he couldn't hear very well over the din of the celebration at Merlin's, but his last words as they said goodbye were 'I love you.' "I can rest easy with that," said Marie."

About David Christian

David Christian is remembered as bright, outgoing and very friendly. People warmed up to him quickly and he was friends with everyone. While he has two siblings, Andrew and Robert, many of his friends also thought of him as their big brother.

According to Pique, David "made a big impact on Matt Gore when he arrived in staff housing from Ontario at the age of 17. 'He could see I was struggling a bit because I was shy at that age,' said Gore. 'At 17 you can't drink or go out, but David hung out with me. When his roommate moved out he invited me to move in there, and from there we always kept in touch. He really was a big brother to me. He was always there.'"

From a young age, David Christian wanted to travel and explore. While on class trips in elementary school, he'd take photographs of scenery. Marie Christian told Pique, "'what he was doing was really showing me the world as he saw it,' said Marie. 'He said 'Look mom, in this one photograph you can see England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...' It was his wish to see the world, and he did that.'"

After high school, David received a three-year degree in Bioinformatics and then went on to earn a graduate degree. "He had no problems finding a good job after that," reports Pique, "but as soon as he made some money he was off travelling." By June 2008, he had moved to Toronto, Ontario, with best friend Matt Walsh. The bright, outgoing pair then moved on to Whistler, British Columbia, where they were hired at Whistler Blackcomb. David was immediately excited about the new job, which would begin at the start of ski season in October.

David loved living and working in the mountains and ended up making a home for himself in Whistler.

Christian’s 18-year-old cousin, Caitlin Sampson told the Province, "He’d been travelling non-stop for a few years, but when he went to B.C. he fell in love and stayed there ever since,” she said.

He took a course in Ski Area Management at Selkirk College and earned his third diploma. But he never gave up his love of travel, and enjoyed travelling the globe to places like Australia and New Zealand during the off season or in his spare time.

Christian’s 18-year-old cousin, Caitlin Sampson told the Province that her cousin, "was a really nice guy.” She added that the “gentle giant” was "the happiest guy — happy to be alive.”

Services for David Christian are planned to be held in Ireland.

According to Pique News Magazine, Marie Christian "plans to hold onto his ashes until they can be spread at Sybil Point [where] his father's ashes were scattered. Every year the family goes to Sybil Point to remember Mick Christian, 'and now David Christian,' said Marie. She's extending an invite to David's Whistler friends to be part of that event a year from now."

Case Details

Name/age: David Christian, 27
Hometown: Ireland
Residence: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
College: Selkirk College
Last Seen: 03/17/12, Merlin's Bar, British Columbia, Canada
Physical Description: 6'3," 210 pounds
Recovered: 03/21/12, Horstman Creek at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course.
Investigating Agency: RCMP
Links: Facebook


Mitchell, Andrew. (2012, March 29). Friends and family mourn passing of David Christian. Pique News Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2012 from: http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/friends-and-family-mourn-passing-of-david-christian/Content?oid=2293612

Mitchell, Andrew (2012, November 22). Coroner says drugs contributed to DJ's death. Pique News Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2013.

Saltman, Jennifer. (2012, March 23). David Christian: Body of missing Whistler man found near Horstman Creek. The Province. Retrieved April 27, 2012 from: http://www.theprovince.com/news/David+Christian+Body+missing+Whistler+found+near+Horstman+Creek/6343276/story.html

Staff article. (2012, March 22). Missing resident David Christian found dead in creek. Whistler Question. Retrieved April 27, 2012 from: http://www.whistlerquestion.com/article/20120322/WHISTLER01/120329994/-1/WHISTLER/

1 comment:

Skunky said...

Thank you Lisa. This compilation is so needed.

Angelo Packo of Grand Rapids seems to be the next one. His body was found 4/22 and he went missing 1/21/2112.