Missing Vancouver Island couple died in crash, father confirms
Ian Holliday, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Sunday, August 25, 2019 1:05PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, August 26, 2019 6:33PM PDT
The father of a young man who -- along with his girlfriend -- was reported missing earlier this month says the couple didn't actually disappear. Instead, they crashed on Pat Bay Highway and were killed, and the wreck was not found for weeks.
Speaking to CTV News Vancouver Island at the scene of the crash on Sunday, Alastair Evans remembered his 23-year-old son James as "a good kid."
James and Easha Rayel, 36, were last seen on Aug. 9, according to Sidney-North Saanich RCMP. Police issued a news release on Aug. 12 saying that the couple had gone missing and asking the public for help locating them. The release said the couple may have been travelling to the Lower Mainland, and a sighting was later reported in Vernon, in the B.C. Interior.
Neither that sighting, nor any of the others posted on social media, were accurate, Alastair Evans said.
"Two weeks ago he was going home back to his mom's place," the father said. "They weren't going to Vancouver. They weren't going to Vernon. They weren't going anywhere. They were going back to the house. And who knows? Front tire popped on the car -- or deer. It happened pretty quick."
Evans said he had spoken to police since the wreckage of the couple's 2002 BMW 325Ci was found in the woods on the side of the highway.
"They were pretty closed-lipped on it," he said of the conversation with RCMP. "They were pretty upset. I don't think they are too impressed that they drive by it every day and, you know, it took them two weeks to figure it out."
On Sunday, police told CTV News Vancouver Island that a vehicle had been recovered from the area after what appeared to be a motor vehicle incident. There was no indication of criminality in the crash, police said, adding that there is therefore no need for them to release the names of the deceased people found in the vehicle.
Evans grew emotional as he spoke about his loss. Asked what he would miss most about James, he replied: "It's a long list."
He said the couple had no reason to disappear. Knowing that they died quickly, rather than suffering, offered some small amount of comfort, he said.
"It's sad," Evans said. "I feel for Easha's family and my family."
"I know that they've been working together and falling in love and enjoying life. It wasn't meant to happen like this."