Thompson man missing for a month found alive by searching family

Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsA northern Manitoba family is celebrating after finding their 26-year-old son who had been missing for a month.Russell Hyslop, of Lac Brochet, was located in some bush near the Thompson float plane dock midday on Friday.His parents, Tom and Jeanette Shaoullie,  were looking for him at the time after hearing a man had been spotted in the area that morning.“One of the searchers yelled, ‘Russell, we’re looking for you,’ when he looked in a shack. And there he was,” Tom told APTN News via phone Saturday morning.Tom called Jeanette who was in another part of the area and she came running.“We were hugging and crying and saying his name. He was crying, too.”The family and their friends had been scouring the city of Thompson by land and air for weeks.The happy discovery came just as RCMP were poised to launch a drone with an infra-red camera, Tom added.The parents described their son “as freaked out” and say he was in the same clothes he was wearing when he disappeared on June 19.They said he was in the community for a medical appointment that he missed.“He was in a mental state. He was exhausted,” said Jeanette. “It’s very saddening. He’s in the hospital, he’s getting the help he needs right now.”She said Russell seemed to be hiding and acting “very afraid.” She said he was not hurt.Jeanette said it appears her son relied on survival skills his dad passed onto him when it came to hunting and living off the land.Tom said they found he had a small axe, utility knife, pieces of rope and rolled up tarp.He said Russell even snuck onto a float plane and hid aboard while it made a trip. It was when Russell exited the plane and made for the bush that he was spotted Friday and police were called.“They didn’t know it was the guy we were looking for. RCMP called us to come in so they could describe him and tell us in person.”The reunion took place very near the campground searchers were using as a home base, Tom added.“Not very many parents locate their loved ones. It’s overwhelming,” he said, pausing to compose himself.While their story has a happy ending, the Hyslops know many other families are still searching for their missing loved ones.They said they could see the family of 60-year-old Dianne Bignell, missing in Thompson since May 17, dragging the river.“I would tell them not to give up,” Tom said. “If it’s meant to be the loved one will return.”The couple thanked community members, volunteer searchers, and Aboriginal organizations for supporting them emotionally and with camping equipment.They say this experience has shown them more search and rescue training and resources are needed in northern and remote areas.And Jeanette says it’s time for broader mental health and wellness education. 

Online Journalist / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.

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