Clue narrows search for Courtenay man to Highway 28 corridor

Comox Valley team also assisting in search for missing Cortes Island man

Closer view of vehicle being sought by friends and family of Michael Gazetas. Photo contributed

UPDATE: According to a gofundme page set up for the search, RCMP and local SAR teams will stand down the search. Read here for more details.


The search continues for a missing Courtenay man.

Michael Gazetas has not been seen since he left his home in his red Ford Ranger pickup on Jan. 31. There has not been a lot of progress, but searchers did get a break in terms of narrowing down the area to be searched.

Search and rescue teams along with family, friends and police were focusing on the Highway 28 corridor west of Campbell River over the weekend.

They are also looking for a truck, probably some kind of service vehicle, that might have been travelling in the area around the same time as Gazetas in the hope that someone might have a clue in terms of his whereabouts. A video shows the service vehicle in the area of the Uplands gravel pit on the Gold River Highway, just before Gazetas.

”They’re trying to identify what that company might be, so they can follow up,” says Paul Berry, president of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR).

RELATED STORY: Searchers for missing Comox Valley man Michael Gazetas seek truck owner

The search, as it stands, is being conducted by Campbell River Search and Rescue with CVGSAR assisting as part of a mutual aid agreement. In fact, there are nine Vancouver Island search and rescue teams coming from as far south as Victoria to help out, as have friends and family from the Lower Mainland.

Because there was no initial indication where Gazetas went, search and rescue could not take part, so friends and family raised money through a GoFundMe campaign to pay for private helicopter searches. As of Sunday afternoon, more than $46,000 had been brought in, while organizers kept people posted with updates online. Once the geographical scope could be limited somewhat, search teams were called in.

“We had a clue … a video of Michael’s vehicle traveling westbound,” said Berry. “That was the trigger to initiate a large-scale search.”

However, he added this is the only clue so far.

RELATED STORY: Search and rescue waits for defined area for missing Island man

More than 5o search team members, along with friends, family and RCMP, were out over the weekend looking on all roads, including logging roads, to locate Gazetas’s vehicle. Berry estimates this weekend’s effort took more than 1,100 person-hours of searcher time, and that doesn’t include additional measures such as fixed-wing and helicopter air searches.

“It’s about a 16,000-square-km search area,” Berry said Sunday afternoon. “We’re looking at every possibility. We’ve certainly had some significant challenges with the search area just because of terrain and weather.”

Also searching for Cortes man

CVGSAR is also assisting in the search for a missing Cortes Island man, Miles Meester, 20. Roughly the same number of people as on the Gazetas search are combing through vegetation on Cortes Island since Meester was last seen on Feb. 6.

“We certainly believe he’s still on the island,” Berry said.

Meester is a 5’11”, 150-lb Caucasian male with dark brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. Anyone with information should call Quadra Island RCMP at 250-285-3631 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

RELATED STORY: Police seek help in locating missing Cortes Island man

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

missing person

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Courtenay’s Michael Gazetas has been missing since Jan. 31. Photo supplied

Just Posted

Julia Strobach. File Photo
Nearing seventh anniversary, Valley RCMP continue search for Julia Strobach

“We know that someone has information that will help us locate her.”

Comox author Loraine Hartley, with a few copies of her debut novel, “My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family.” Photo supplied
Comox author pens novel about life in a blended family

Generally speaking, authors write their books, then determine a title. But not… Continue reading

Police reported more than 2.2 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic offences) in 2019 within Canada- 164,784 more than in 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Crime Severity Index on the rise with the Valley, Canada: StatsCan

There were 1,450 actual incidents in the Comox Valley in 2019

Joyce Jay enjoys a moment with Georgia, her son Ed’s dog, at her Comox home. Joyce is 103 years old. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox centenarian recalls wartime Britain, moving to Canada

Joyce Jay isn’t one to shy away from adventure. She wanted to… Continue reading

The distance education program through Navigate (NIDES) has been seen some large gains in enrolment. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley school enrolment up despite fewer kids in class

Growth being driven heavily by increase in distance education numbers

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

It’s volleyball season at schools in the Comox Valley, in a cohorted environment. Tournament play or matches between schools are not happening during COVID. File photo
Comox Valley Schools re-opens sports at practice level

Comox Valley Schools has re-opened sports at a practice level, but as… Continue reading

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Most Read