Family, friends gather for six month anniversary of missing Comox Valley man

Willem Rennie was last seen April 19 in the Courtenay area

Family and friends of Willem Rennie gathered Wednesday night at the Courtenay Exhibition Ground to honour his memory. Rennie has been missing for six months

Family and friends of Willem Rennie gathered Wednesday night at the Courtenay Exhibition Ground to honour his memory. Rennie has been missing for six months

Hannah Rennie remembers talking to her brother Willem about four-leaf clovers.

The siblings were sitting on their mom’s front porch. Afterwards, Willem helped his sister buckle her kids in the car.

“He said ‘I love you’ to them and he gave me a hug and that’s how he was whenever we had to say goodbye.”

That was the last time Hannah saw her brother.

The 25-year-old Comox Valley man was last seen April 19 in the Courtenay area, and on the six-month anniversary of his disappearance, Wednesday night, more than 75 family, friends and community members gathered at the Courtenay Exhibition Grounds – the location his 1999 blue two-toned Chevrolet pickup truck was found.

“It means so much to know that we’re not alone,” Hannah told the crowd who huddled together shielding candles lit in Willem’s memory from the rain. “With a missing person, after so long, people forget to ask how you are because they don’t know how to ask. It means a lot to see everyone here.”

Family and friends took turns sharing stories, songs and poems, but Hannah admitted afterwards the disappearance of her brother is “extremely frustrating.”

“There was point in time, (I believed) for myself that my brother was still alive, and now I don’t. There just isn’t the physical evidence to prove that, but that’s my view. And it’s frustrating to not have a body and have somewhere that I can go and remember him. I don’t think people just vanish without a trace.”

Comox Valley RCMP Const. Rob Gardner said investigators have been able to create a timeline prior to Willem’s vehicle being located but echo the family’s wishes that people need to come forward to help bring resolution to what has happened.

“Either way if he’s alive or not, we need to know either way because this is painful and it doesn’t need to keep going,” said Hannah, holding back tears.

Willem’s mother, Andrea, described her son’s passion for fishing, camping and riding bikes, and noted he is “a very loving, loyal and caring person.”

She said he was so proud when he told her he was going to be a dad.

“On April 2, we went for a walk – our last walk together. And we talked and talked, and I didn’t want that talk to end … he wanted to be the best dad ever to his little son.”

Working on and off as a labourer, Willem left for three days the weekend prior to his disappearance to work up-Island, but family members knew of his location. Hannah noted in April he isn’t active on social media, and while he does carry a cellphone, it’s prepaid – not a smartphone – and it isn’t always operational.

Willem is described as being 5’6”, 130 pounds with blond hair, blue eyes and a medium build.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Willem Rennie, contact the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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

Just Posted

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A fawn stands in a field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
MARS hoping to build fawn complex for rehab

Their goal is to raise $20,000 in a relatively short period of time.

Aspen Park in Comox is the latest school reporting a COVID-19 exposure. Screenshot, Google Maps
Fifth Comox Valley school reports COVID-19 exposure

Exposure at Aspen Park in Comox was reported for Feb. 22

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Photo: Lt. Sandy Pridmore, MARS Darlene Banerd, MARS, Warren Warttig and Captain Rob Stevens show the new automatic external defibrillator (AED) that will be located at the MARS facilities located at 1331 William Beach Road, Black Creek. Photo supplied
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society adds AED to Williams Beach Road location

Submitted Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has collaborated with the Comox Firefighters… Continue reading

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read