Using their specialized skills to search for evidence and crime scenes, the RCMP Tactical Troop were called Tuesday to search two areas in the Comox Valley in hopes of finding new information for a missing Courtenay woman.
Julia Strobach, then 27-years-old, was last seen in Courtenay Oct. 31, 2013. Investigators confirmed the last sighting of Strobach was in the 1000 block of Braidwood Road in the early evening hours.
Cpl. Darren Lagan of the Island District RCMP, said the team, which generally manages crowd-control or security situations, is also trained in grid searching for evidence during homicide or missing persons investigations.
“They’re really going to cover a wide swath,” he explained. “They’re looking for anything of value (in the case).”
Twice a year, the team – which consists of members from detachments across Vancouver Island – comes together to re-certify skills and practice manoeuvres, explained Const. Daina Basso to media.
“In addition to the twice a year, we come together whenever there’s a call out. We get called out to a variety of different crime scenes, venues, events. We move to supplement the detachment area and bring with us some specialized skills to help the detachment to which we were called.”
Fifty officers from the troop searched green spaces in the 4600 block of Headquarters Road along with the 1000 block of Ryan Road.
Basso added everyone on the team joins voluntarily, but the work is extremely satisfying.
“It’s over and above their priorities at their detachment and their duties at their attachment, and everybody does it to help out further,” she noted. “It’s very satisfying for us, not only to bring closure and/or a successful outcome to the families involved, but to lend assistance to our other detachment members.”
For the last 17 months, officers with the Comox Valley RCMP General Investigation Section have contributed many investigative hours towards uncovering any evidence related to Strobach’s disappearance. They have also remained in regular contact with her family overseas.
Anyone with information about Strobach’s disappearance is asked to call the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.