A $10,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information about Carl Schooner Jr. from Nuxalk First Nation (Bella Coola) who was last seen in Williams Lake, B.C. on Dec. 4.
The award is being sponsored from Heltsuik and Nuxalk First Nation.
On Jan. 12, a press conference was held by Williams Lake RCMP, community leaders, elders, and the family of Schooner. It opened with drumming and prayer.
Schooner Jr., 30, travelled from Nuxalk First Nation to Williams Lake in mid November to visit friends and family. His family last spoke to him on Dec. 2 on a video call.
His father, Carl Schooner Sr. spoke at the press conference with his family standing beside him.
“We want to thank everyone that is helping us with the search and make a plea to anyone who has any information as to the whereabouts of our son to call the police. This is a parent’s worst nightmare … please let us bring him home,” said Schooner Sr.
Chief Sam Schooner of the Nuxalk Nation was at the meeting to support the family.
“He is a hardworking and kind person who cares about his family and friends above all else,” said Chief Schooner. “His family and friends have spent weeks looking for him and we will not give up.”
Chief Willie Sellars of Williams Lake First Nation thanked everyone for attending.
“We are starting to change the narrative of what this healing journey means to each and every one of us,” said Sellars. He asked the community to co-operate with the RCMP during their investigation.
Posters advertising a $10 000 reward with Schooner’s face and a description of his appearance were handed out at the event.
Schooner is described as an Indigenous male, medium build, six feet tall, 161 pounds with brown hair and eyes.
He was last seen wearing a black hoodie with green lettering on it.
His family and many community members conducted searches in the Williams Lake area – one on Boxing Day and again on Saturday, Jan. 7 and Jan. 8.
On Wednesday, Jan 11. there was a candlelight vigil for Schooner.
“This investigation has been a priority …. All investigation avenues are being pursued,” said Madonna Saunderson, RCMP media relations for the North District.
Saunderson said that they cannot share further details of the investigation but anyone with information about Schooner’s disappearance should call the Williams Lake RCMP.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that both Williams Lake First Nation and Nuxalk First Nation have funded the award. It was in fact Heltsuik and Nuxalk Nation who are funding the award.