Police Widen Search for Missing Alberta Campers

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July 14, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Trudy Holder held her daughter Morgan's hand, anxiously scanning the Abbotsford, British Columbia, airport for her parents.

But the elderly Alberta couple never made it.

"They're always half-hour early, so when they hadn't arrived, I knew right away something was very wrong," Holder told The Province Tuesday (July 13) in Vancouver, where she is staying with relatives.

Lyle and Marie McCann had planned to drive from their St. Albert home, making stops at various campgrounds, before meeting up with their daughter and nine-year-old granddaughter on Saturday at the Abbotsford airport. The plan was to pick up Trudy and Morgan, who had flown in from Calgary, and head for a two-week vacation to Cultus Lake near Chilliwack.

After a few frantic calls to family members in Alberta and British Columbia, Holder immediately alerted the police.

RCMP had already found the couple's RV on fire in Edson's Minnow Lake campground, about 120 miles west of Edmonton, on July 5, but no bodies were found inside the charred remains.

Mysteriously, the couple's light green Hyundai SUV is still missing and the pair have not been seen or heard from, even though they were carrying a cellphone.

"It's just devastating," Holder said, struggling to hold back tears in front of her daughter.

"You can never imagine anyone doing anything horrible to [my parents]. It's a complete shock [to think] that anyone would want to destroy their things."

When asked if she thought her grandparents would be found safe, Morgan buried her face in her mother's neck and said softly: "I don't want to answer."

The McCanns were healthy and strong when they left on the trip. Morgan happily recalled riding on a roller-coaster in Disneyland with her 77-year-old grandmother just last year.

"We've been trying to keep [Morgan] distracted," Holder said in a whisper as she played with her daughter.

But it's now been more than a week since the McCanns were last seen paying for gas at a St. Albert store.

Lyle, 78, was a long-distance trucker, often carrying fuel to Prince Rupert or Vancouver, said his son, Bret McCann.

"He was very familiar with the roads in British Columbia and he has been driving a motorhome for many years now," said McCann in a phone interview from Alberta.

Marie, 77, was a stay-at-home mother of three, a grandmother five times over and a great-grandmother to one.

"In retrospect, I guess we should have been alarmed that they hadn't called. But it wasn't unusual," Bret McCann said.

Police say the couple's cellphone has apparently been switched off. RCMP have searched the area by helicopter where the burning motorhome was found and have also run financial checks on the McCanns, but found nothing suspicious.

"It's strange because we know where the couple were last seen on July 3 and where the motorhome was found on July 5, but we can't say how it got there," said Edmonton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Patrick Webb. "We can't even say if they made it to B.C. at this point. Of course, its very suspicious, but we are always hopeful that they will be found."

On Sunday, the family created a Facebook page containing pleas for help in finding the couple. As of Tuesday evening it already had 1,700 members.

RCMP are asking people in Western Canada to look out for the couple's Hyundai Tucson with Alberta licence plate ZPK 289. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (80) 222-TIPS.

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