Sean Hart went missing from Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich six months ago but his family, the police and the public have not stopped searching for him.
The 34-year-old who suffers from schizoaffective disorder was staying at the mental health facility in Saanich when he unexpectedly left on Nov. 6, 2020. Sean has been known to disappear for extended periods of time – usually taking to the woods and wandering long distances barefoot – when he goes off his medication.
On Nov. 16 police issued an alert and called for the public’s help in the search. He is described as a Caucasian man, 6’ and 130 pounds with blue eyes and long, curly, brown hair. He was last seen dressed in all black.
His mother, Penny Hart, flew to Victoria from Calgary two days later to begin searching for her son on the ground and plaster his photo all over the region.
“I was so desperate to get his name out there,” she told Black Press Media on May 8, 183 days after Sean’s disappearance. She searched until late at night every day, talking to community members and reaching out to police for any updates.
The Saanich police have been kind and reassuring, she said. The lead detective assigned to Sean’s case calls her weekly to check in – even when there are no new leads. “It just kept me going,” Penny said.
“From our investigation, we still do not have a confirmed sighting of Sean since November 6, 2020, the day he left,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades, adding the case is open and active. “We are still trying to locate him and would like to speak to anyone who saw Sean or might have information on his whereabouts.”
Penny returned to Calgary on Dec. 31, 2020 and planned to come back to the Island in the new year but the rising COVID-19 case numbers have limited her travel options. In the interim, she’s found solace in the beautiful memories of her son – soaking up the sun in Victoria’s parks, sipping coffee by the water fountain outside the Bay Centre and a Christmas spent at the Embassy Inn Hotel.
Penny wonders if he might have walked to Metchosin as he’s gone there during previous disappearances, but she can’t be sure.
Possible sightings and tips poured in from all over the Island and Vancouver, and police investigated each one but none led to Sean. The reports are few and far between now, but people are still looking, Penny said, noting her Facebook group has more than 820 followers.
The support and kind messages that she received from friends and strangers alike helped her during the darkest days and give her hope. She’s grateful and hopeful that the community will continue to search until he’s found.
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