A supporter holds a poster of missing woman, Shaelene Bell, as family speaks with media at the end of McSween Road in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A supporter holds a poster of missing woman, Shaelene Bell, as family speaks with media at the end of McSween Road in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

No link between missing B.C. women; RCMP dispel ‘rumours’ over white van abductions

Social media posts repeated unsubstantiated claim a white van was involved in series of abductions

Amid two high-profile cases of women who disappeared in the Lower Mainland, sparking abduction concerns on social media, RCMP stress that these missing persons files are not connected.

Trina Hunt, 48, was last seen at her home in the Heritage Mountain neighbourhood in Port Moody in mid-January, while Chilliwack mother Shaelene Keeler Bell, 23, has been missing since Jan. 30.

“There is nothing to indicate that people are being abducted or there is an increase in reported cases,” reads a BC RCMP statement released Feb. 8.

“There is also nothing to indicate any links in recent missing person cases identified in Port Moody, Chilliwack or other areas of the province. The circumstances in each investigation are different.”

The latest statement follows two others released by Coquitlam RCMP in recent days, one of which referred to social media posts inferring there’s a connection between missing persons cases.

Over the weekend, hundreds of posts circulated online warning of an unsubstantiated “series of abductions” linked to a white van – with some of the posts suggesting that people arm themselves.

When a person goes missing, the Real Time Intelligence Centre, created in 2014, is mandated to review and identify links and trends between those cases and other criminal activity. The agency said while there have been three recent incidents in which a person said they were followed by a white van, no further links or trends have been identified. A fourth incident is still under investigation, involving a man being forced into a white van.

Police are urging everyone to reach out to their local detachment for accurate information, and to report any suspicious incidents to officers – not on social media.

“We appreciate people care about each other and simply want to communicate what they believe is accurate information about their own safety.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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