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Extensive search for missing hiker in Sooke suspended

New leads spark renewed search for Melissa McDevitt

Sooke RCMP have called off the search for a missing hiker after an extensive effort on the weekend failed to yield results. About 80 volunteers from about 10 agencies took part in the effort to find Melissa McDevitt, who was reported missing to Victoria police on Dec. 10, 2022.

When asked how the family was doing before the latest search effort started, Tom McDevitt’s simple reply spoke volumes.

“It’s just another regular day in the hope of getting some news about the search for our daughter,” Tom McDevitt said in a telephone interview with Black Press from the family home in North Carolina.

Search and rescue efforts are scheduled to begin again this weekend after new information was discovered that could help find

McDevitt’s vehicle, a 2015 grey Subaru Forester with a North Carolina licence plate, was also found on Dec. 10 near Sooke Potholes.

The timing of the new search efforts is a little unfortunate because McDevitt and his wife had just returned to North Carolina on July 4 after searching for Melissa since the middle of May.

“We had to go back to deal with family matters,” he said. ”When you’re gone for two months things start to back up and need to be attended to.”

“The search wouldn’t have restarted without the discovery of all sorts of information Melissa kept on her watch regarding her hikes that was retrieved recently,” McDevitt explained. “It took a lot of time and effort on the part of individuals to track down the type of watch she had and access the information. The community has provided a tremendous amount of support throughout this.”

McDevitt said they are reaching out to anyone who may have passed or interacted with Melissa on Friday, Dec. 9 or Saturday, Dec. 10.

“There’s an unconfirmed report that a mountain biker passed here at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. If that person came forward it would be extremely valuable because that’s the last point of contact, and any new information could be helpful.”

He urged anyone with information to email

The initial search was suspended on Dec. 19, but Sooke RCMP has maintained an active missing persons investigation.

“There has been an outpouring of support for Melissa and her family since she went missing,” said Sgt. Kevin Shaw, acting Sooke RCMP detachment commander, in a statement. “The RCMP and Melissa’s family sincerely appreciate the public’s assistance and continued efforts to find Melissa to this point. Given the specialized and focused nature of the renewed search efforts, however, we are asking people to please avoid the area this weekend to accommodate Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue efforts.”

Anyone with information about McDevitt’s whereabouts is asked to call Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241.

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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