Police probe unconfirmed sighting of missing senior in Cowichan Valley
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 3:22PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:24PM PDT
Police and search and rescue teams are investigating a tip that an Oak Bay grandmother reported missing was spotted in the Cowichan Valley last week.
Cowichan Search and Rescue have been deployed to search an area near Genoa Bay and Maple Bay for missing 82-year-old Gladys Barman.
Police received a tip that Barman may have been seen in her vehicle on Stoney Hill Road at around 1:15 p.m. last Thurs., July 6.
A Maple Bay man believes he may have spoken with Barman hours after she was last seen at a Petro Canada in Central Saanich that same morning at around 10 a.m.
Dan Sieffert said a woman who may have been Barman asked him where she could fill up with gas, and that she seemed anxious.
"I was just working outside my shop here…and along drives this lady down here and stops right in front of the shop, and I could see that she was agitated and frustrated and a bit confused," he said.
"I recognized she was in trouble so I approached her and went to her window and she told me she was out of gas."
Sieffert gave her directions to the nearest gas station and she headed off.
He didn't think much of it until Tuesday, when he saw Barman's picture in the newspaper.
"It says 'Do you know where Gladys is?' or something in the headline, and I saw her picture and I went, 'Oh my god I do.'"
Sieffert also said the description of Barman's car, a dark green 2002 Honda Accord with BC license plate 940 RGA, matched up with the car the woman was driving, so he contacted Oak Bay police with the tip.
UPDATE: Cowichan SAR is being deployed to the area. @OakBayPolice deputy chief says it's still important to note the sighting has not been confirmed, so he still wants people to keep an eye out for Gladys and her car elsewhere.— Yvonne Raymond (@CTVNewsYvonne) July 11, 2018
Police said in a news release issued Wednesday that although they can't confirm the tip is legitimate, they're following up on it to the best of their ability.
Sieffert said despite not knowing who Barman was when she pulled up, he wished he could have done more.
"I thought that I had really missed out on an opportunity to help somebody more than I already had," he said. "I had no way of knowing, but I had an intuition when I saw her that she needed help, but I thought what I was doing for her was enough."
Gladys's son, Neil Barman, said there have been a number of possible sightings of his mother in the Cowichan Valley area that have not been 100 per cent confirmed.
"The descriptions have been plausible enough, so they're hoping everybody out there can be extra vigilant at the moment," he said, calling volunteer and police efforts so far "tremendous."
He said his mother hasn't had any credit card or bank activity in recent days, but he's hopeful that it's only a matter of time until she's found.
Anyone who sees Barman or has information on her whereabouts is asked to call Oak Bay police at 250-592-2424.