RCMP in Alberta are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing Salmon Arm man who was working in Alberta when he went missing. They are now also seeking information regarding a burned sport utility vehicle.
Valentine (Val) Degenhardt, 45, was last seen in Barrhead, Alta. around 5:30 p.m. on July 17.
He was last seen driving a 2000 dark grey Jeep Grand Cherokee bearing Alberta license plate BJS 0889. The vehicle had a SportRack which was positioned on the passenger’s side roof.
The RCMP are now trying to locate a burned out SUV which was observed on a flat deck heavy duty truck on July 30 at approximately 7:30 a.m. The truck was travelling southbound on Highway 2 just north of St. Albert, Alta.
“We’re still seeking public assistance in finding him,” said Const. Yelena Avoine. “People might think the information they have is not important for us but everything at this point is really, really important.”
The family is concerned for Degenhardt’s safety, describing his disappearance as out of character. RCMP say nothing at this time indicates that foul play is involved.
Degenhardt and his wife Robyn Schmitke-Degenhardt live in Salmon Arm but own a house in Morinville because Val is often there for work.
An emotional Schmitke is overly grateful for the public’s assistance with the search.
She last spoke to Val on the phone from Salmon Arm on July 17, but made her way to Alberta after loosing contact with him.
Volunteers have organized two search parties in the area in addition to volunteer pilots who have conducted air searches.
“We did it for quite a few days,” family friend Laurie-Ann Sankey said of the organized searches. “The support from the community has been tremendous.”
The Morinville RCMP also had a helicopter in the air on July 25 searching near Barrhead.
Sankey spoke from Whitecourt on Monday, which is also where Schmitke grew up. She notes that although the search is on in Alberta, support from Salmon Arm has not gone unnoticed.
“Everyone has come together to help the family,” she said. “Even the support from the Salmon Arm community has been amazing.”
The family is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information of Degenhardt’s whereabouts.
Degenhardt is Caucasian, stands five-foot, eight inches, and weighs 198lbs. He has brown/greying hair, with a grey goatee and green eyes.
Anyone who may have spoken with Degenhardt before he went missing, or who may have information about his current whereabouts, or the whereabouts of the burned SUV, is asked to call the Morinville RCMP at 780-939-4520 or Crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. The Edmonton RCMP Major Crimes Unit is also assisting.