Family of Ralph Beaulieu frustrated RCMP aren’t doing more to find hunter

A family in the Northwest Territories say they’re frustrated that local RCMP aren’t doing more to help find Ralph Beaulieu.

“We complained and complained,” said Eva Beaulieu, Ralph’s sister. “MLAs and chiefs have been out here and we talked to them. No one would come.

“We only seen the RCMP once on Saturday who came out for a few minutes to talk to the people and they didn’t even go into the woods.”

Ralph, a 54-year-old Dene hunter and trapper, was dropped off at his cabin on April 23. His brother was scheduled to pick him up on May 8.

But when he arrived, Beaulieu was nowhere to be found.

“He is a very experienced hunter, he lived on the land for at least 35, 40 years,” said Eva. “Hunting, trapping, living in a tent – sleeping out in the woods.

“So we really don’t know what happened; why did he disappear?”

Ralph Beaulieu
Family gather at a camp set up for the search. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTN.

The family even chartered a helicopter last weekend and paid out of pocket to look for Ralph.

Yellowknife’s volunteer ground search and rescue team sent members out to search. So far, only some of Ralph’s belongings have been found.

“(We) found the pants and the gun, then the next day we found the boot,” said Tom Girrior, volunteer search coordinator. “The next day we found the other boot. We took Monday off because we were beat, but we found eyeglasses all in the same area.”

The searchers believe Ralph was on the move.

“Kind of gives us some clues of where we think we are searching next, but we are still also cleaning up some areas we missed,” said Girroir.

A few members of the Canadian Rangers arrived, but they’re not allowed to organize or wear their uniforms. They need to be called up by the RCMP to act in any kind of official capacity.

“We had to be in our civvies,” said Lorraine Villeneuve, a Ranger and Ralph’s cousin. “And they won’t get our Canadian Rangers out until the RCMP would release or ask for assistance.”

‘He’s a good hunter. He knows the land … I just pray that we find him in good health,’ says Lorraine Villeneuve. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTN.

The RCMP told APTN News the first search last week was challenging.

Const. Ryan Price, a dog handler with RCMP G Division in Yellowknife, said they will narrow the field now that some material possessions has been found.

“Some items have been located so it’ll give us a more specific … area to search instead of just a big broad general area out in the woods,” Price said. “(The dog is going to be) searching and hoping to detect on human odour.”

The search has been going on for six days.

“It is pretty miserable. It’s either very, very muddy and you’re prone to slipping, or there’s a lot of fallen trees,” said Girroir, “some from (last year’s) forest fire.

The search camp alongside the highway is busy with volunteers. Food and wall tents have been dropped off.

“I just pray that we bring Ralph home to the family,” said Villeneuve. “If you could all light a candle and do a little prayer for Ralph and the family. That would be appreciated.”

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