It’s been three days since Julia Marsden’s dad went for a walk in the Ferguson Trails in Maple Ridge, and still there’s no sign of him anywhere.
“We are obviously not optimistic about the outcome,” Marsden told CTV News. “(But) I still leave the light on and the door unlocked for him at night.”
Ted Vanderveen suffers from dementia and requires dialysis treatment. At around 10 a.m. Thursday, the 72-year-old went for a walk in the trails as he often does.
“He’s been doing really well,” said Marsden. “He’s been going for walks by himself for months with no trouble.”
When an hour passed, the family called 911. Police and search rews scoured the forested area and nearby homes for two days, but Friday ended up suspending their efforts.
“I completely understand that they can’t keep going,” said Marsden. “I know that they kind of walk away and that’s not what they came here for. They came to find something right? And not finding it was disappointing for them too.”
But the community is still hopeful.
“He’s out there,” said Linda Feuerhelm, who volunteered to search. “It’s -4 to -8 overnight. He’s been out there for three nights so it’s a no brainer.”
Megan Oliver, who also doesn’t know Marsden or her father, organized a weekend search online.
“I just thought let’s start one Facebook group, get a search going,” she told CTV News. “My dad suffers from dementia so it really hit close to home and I just would be lost if it was him. So I just wanted to help any way that I could.”
Hundreds have joined the Facebook group since, all wanting to help find Vanderveen.
“I’m just so overwhelmed by just the love and support and the way the community has rallied around someone they don’t even know,” said Marsden. “Everyone’s just ignoring their to-do lists to find us closure and that means the world to us.”
Dozens turned out to search the trails, while others told CTV News they’d been driving around at night looking for him along the streets.
Oliver said what they need is all residents to check their properties, look under tarps and in sheds: “There’s just so much land and farms out here that have not been checked so, we’re just requesting them to help.”
Marsden said the family is not going to give up the search either.
“I don’t really know what else to do," she said.
Vanderveen was a truck driver, but when he was home, Marsden told CTV News he was always laughing. “He was a second dad to so many of my friends,” she added. “He’s had a lot of hard things in his life and heavy tragedies and he’s just always had the most infectious laugh.”
Since Vanderveen was diagnosed with dementia, it’s been hard for the family. “It’s kind of two losses right? You lose them when they start going and then they (really) go. It hits you twice.”
And it’s been hard for him, and everyone, to come to terms with.
“He’s been deteriorating,” Marsden said. “He’s been bothered by it. So we’ve had lots of conversations about end of life and he’s very much at peace with it.”
Marsden has two young boys and a baby on the way, and his disappearance has been a challenge for them all.
“My son’s four and he’s like, 'Grandpa’s gone, he’s missing, it’s taking him a long time to get home,' ” she said.
The family is hoping they find Vanderveen soon, and praying he’s alive when they do. In the meantime, they are thanking the entire community for the support during this nightmare.