Police are hoping renewed public attention will help shed some light on the mysterious disappearance almost two years ago of three individuals who had ties to Eastern Europe and several other communities across B.C. and Canada.
In the early morning hours of July 26, 2016, a Volvo C50 station wagon was located abandoned and partially blocking traffic on Mackenzie Avenue North in Williams Lake.
According to police the vehicle was registered to Mihai Vornicu, 44, one of three people who vanished that day and haven’t been heard from since. The other two include Vornicu’s wife, Marie Olarte, 58, who is of Filipino descent, and their friend, Robert Dragoescu, 32, who, like Vornicu, is also of Eastern European descent.
Police believe the trio were likely travelling together, leaving the Lower Mainland sometime between July 22 and July 25 heading to the Williams Lake area where they owned property on Beaver Valley Road, located about 40 minutes east of Williams Lake.
The 12-acre property owned by Vornicu and Olarte was sold June 23, 2015 as part of a court-ordered foreclosure sale.
According to a Crimestoppers news release, police believe in the weeks leading up to the trio’s disappearance, the three had frequented various parts of Vancouver including the area of Mission and Maple Ridge. Police have also establish that they had links to Vancouver Island and Toronto, Ontario and that Vornicu and Dragoescu both have ties to Eastern Europe.
“Police share family and friends concerns for their well-being and hope that somebody will come forward with the information needed to solve this case,” said Williams Lake RCMP OIC Insp. Jeff Pelley.
“RCMP investigators are looking for any information on their current whereabouts, any information regarding their travel itinerary and timeline of activity prior to and on the date that the vehicle was found abandoned in Williams Lake.”
Vornicu is described as an Eastern European male, five foot seven inches tall, approximately 230 pounds with green eyes and brown hair.
Olarte is described as a Pilipino woman, four feet tall, 99 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Dragoescu is described as an Eastern European male, five foot ten inches tall, about 175 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
If you know anything about Vornicu, Olarte or Dragoescu’s disappearance or their whereabouts, you are asked to call Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Crime stoppers also subscribes to web tips at www.bccrimestoppers.com.