Hunters Find Body of Canadian Who Went Missing in Nevada
The body of a Canadian man missing in the Nevada wilderness since 2011 has been found, more than a year and a half after he vanished while seeking help.
Albert Chretien, 59, was stranded in the woods with his wife in March of 2011, when their van got stuck in the mud in northeastern Nevada on their way to Las Vegas.
tweet. There is no word yet about the whereabouts of her husband. (AP Photo/Royal Canadian Mounted Police via The Canadian Press)
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Penticton British Columbia, couple Albert Chretien and wife Rita are shown in this undated Royal Canadian Mounted Police handout photo. The coupe went missing en route to Las Vegas more than a month ago. Rita Chretien has been found alive Friday May 6, 2011 in a remote part of northeastern Nevada police say. Hunters in Elko Country, Nevada, found Rita alive on Friday, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk announced in a tweet. There is no word yet about the whereabouts of her husband. (AP Photo/Royal Canadian Mounted Police via The Canadian Press)
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While he started out on foot to find help, his wife Rita stayed behind in the car, where she survived on the brink of starvation for the next 48 days by eating candy, trail mix and snow before she was finally able to attract the attention of hunters who rescued her.
Police found and identified Chretien’s remains on Saturday, Det. Dennis Journigan of the county sheriff’s department told CBC News, after two local hunters pointed them to a spot in the woods where they believed they had found the body.
The hunters, Rodney Thompson and Jay Doke, contacted police after they found Chretien’s backpack on Sept. 29 and then discovered his body up the mountain.
“They know of the story, of what took place and they were in the general area,” Detective Jim Carpenter told CBC News on Monday. “They put two and two together and called us and said, ‘Hey, we think we found your missing Canadian guy.’”
They met with a police search team on Sept. 30 and led them to the body, which police said they identified as Chretien due to cards in his wallet.
Chretien and his wife had been on a road trip from their home in Penticton, B.C. to Las Vegas when their van broke down.
Their faulty GPS – which had reportedly led them the wrong way into the woods in the first place – then failed Chretien again, as the battery likely died while he was trying to navigate his way on foot.
“Once he lost the ability to use that GPS, due to the snow drifts, he couldn’t tell where the road was. He did a lot of unnecessary climbing. He was heading literally for the summit of the mountain,” Sheriff’s Deputy David Prall told The Associated Press.
“There’s no way to speculate whether he would have made it, but he demonstrated by where he made it to it was far beyond what he was equipped for,” he said. “This man had tremendous courage and inner strength to get where he was.”
Chretien’s body was found more than 9 miles from where he started, and he had climbed roughly 8,100 feet in the snow. Officials said he was about 6 miles from the next town, which would have been mostly a downhill climb.
Rita Chretien, who spoke of her ordeal last month in front of an Idaho church congregation, said she had been prepared to die that day.
“I thought I was dreaming,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘Hey, I’m not dreaming. This is really happening.”
When informed of the news that her husband’s body had been found Rita Chretien was emotional but expressed relief at finally getting closure, according to police.