Body of missing Australian found in southern B.C. wilderness nearly 7 years later

The B.C. Coroners Service confirms remains found near Grand Forks recently have been identified by DNA match as those of Owen Rooney.

The 24-year-old disappeared from the Boundary Hospital Aug. 14, 2010.

His mother posted to a Facebook page dedicated to finding her son Sunday night.

“We were notified a few weeks ago that human remains were found at Hardy Mountain BC… 3km from the hospital that Owen went missing from.
We have come together as a family to receive the news via a phone appointment, the DNA results have confirmed it is our Owen.
Emotionally digesting this news is a challenge. We take solace in the fact that we can bring him home to us. Our resolution has been given.
Many people have loved and shared Owen’s short and funfilled life. He is well loved.
We have no further information till we hear from the coroner.
We are so grateful to everyone here for your positive love and support. This has given us the ability to continue our connection, perseverance and strength till this day.
We thank the Grand Forks Search and Rescue for their bravery and diligence in bringing Owen home to us.
For all those with missing family members, may you find peace in your hearts .. ambiguity is not easy and we send you much love. A very grateful Rooney Family xo”

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It was members of Grand Forks Search and Rescue Unit who found human remains at the base of Hardy Mountain Jun. 10 during a routine training exercise, according to a release from the coroner’s office. The location is only 3 km from the hospital.

“Mr. Rooney left the Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks on that evening, leaving his belongings behind,” said the release sent out by Barb McLintock, lead coroner of B.C.’s Strategic Programs. “He had been hitchhiking back to Kelowna where he was living after a trip to the Shambala music festival near Salmo. Despite extensive searches at the time, he could not be located.”

Rooney had been in some type of altercation, according to RCMP, which landed him at the Grand Forks hospital ER.

“The BC Coroners Service would like to thank the Grand Forks RCMP and members of the search-and-rescue teams who, over a period of almost seven years, never gave up on trying to discover what had happened to Mr. Rooney.”

The Rooney family traveled to B.C. from Australia and spent six months searching for the young man.

An investigation by the coroner continues into the cause and manner of his death.

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