A community-wide search is underway in Williams Lake Friday, Dec. 4, for Randolph (Rando) Quilt who was last seen by his family on Oct. 4, 2020.
Former Esk’etemc Chief Charlene Belleau and Tsilhqot’in National Government communications advisor Loretta Williams organized the search, which began at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds with a prayer ceremony.
“The search today is important for our communities to come together and be able to support one another between the Secwepemc and the Tsilhqot’in,” Belleau said. “One of their community members is missing. It’s cold. If we can find him safe then it’s good.”
Three members of the Williams Lake RCMP were present and Belleau said the police are doing what they need to, but with an extra 10 or 20 bodies on the ground it would be helpful.
Quilt, 59, is a member of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.
Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua, said Quilt is his first cousin and he hopes he is safe and sound.
“For us, it’s a change for First Nations people to see RCMP here helping with us, and that’s something we normally don’t have, and also neighbouring nations starting to work together,” he said.
Quilt’s mother last saw him catching a ride from Xeni Gwet’in First Nation to Williams Lake before he was seen making a Sept. 26 transaction at RBC Royal Bank in Williams Lake.
Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron said police also received a sighting of Quilt in Boitano Park on Nov. 28.
“We’ve checked a lot of leads, we’ve spoken to many people, and checked out certain places all over,” he said, noting Alexis Creek RCMP is also assisting.
“We’re doing the best we can.”
Belleau reminded Byron, who was joined with Sgt. Jason Pole and Const. Martin Richard, to share their leads with leaders.
“What I’m worried about is you having information and hopefully, there are updates to the chief or somebody so that they don’t feel that you’re just not bothering with finding him,” she said, noting the cold weather.
“I don’t want the results we did in Mount Currie where somebody is missing, and we find them frozen to death later,” she added.
Williams Lake First Nation emergency coordinator Brittany Cleminson said they would search six areas as she provided a brief overview of effective searching methods.
“With the number of people we have and the amount of distance that we’re going to be able to cover, I’m hopeful that we’ll find something,” she said.
Belleau encouraged everyone in Williams Lake who cannot help with the search to look around their own properties for any signs of Quilt.
As of Friday, Dec. 4, the Alexis Creek RCMP said the Williams Lake RCMP have taken over the investigation.
“This is due to the last confirmed sighting of Randolph being in Williams Lake where he lived,” said Sgt. Trevor Romanchych.