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‘We’re just hunting for closure now’: Maple Ridge family continues search for missing senior

Tjeerd “Ted’ Vanderveen in police handout photos.
Tjeerd “Ted’ Vanderveen in police handout photos. Ridge Meadows RCMP

The family of an elderly Maple Ridge man with dementia who hasn’t been seen for days are vowing to continue their search, despite police calling their efforts off before the weekend.

Ted Vanderveen left his residence in the 26500-block of 112 Avenue Thursday morning for a walk in the Ferguson Trails area.

After searching the trails and surrounding forest by foot and by air for the 72-year-old overnight and through Friday, Ridge Meadows RCMP and search and rescue crews suspended their operation that evening.

READ MORE: Search for missing Maple Ridge senior suspended, 2 others located across Metro Vancouver

But Vanderveen’s daughter Julia Marsden says she and her family aren’t giving up that easily — even though hopes of finding him alive are dwindling.

“We’re kind of at a loss for what to do next,” she said. “We have a few friends who are truck drivers who will be going to truck stops and putting information out there in case he hitched a ride or something. We’re just trying to get the word out.”

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On Sunday, Marsden says the family was joined by neighbours and friends as they scoured the trails and forest once again. Vanderveen would walk the trail system multiple times a week, she says, but would always make his way back home — making his disappearance disturbing.

Search for missing Maple Ridge man with dementia continues
Search for missing Maple Ridge man with dementia continues

With no sign of her father by the time the sun began to set, Marsden says this may be the last time the group combs through the forest.

“If he is there, he’s not alive,” she said. “I don’t know that we will go out again tomorrow. Some neighbours may go out and have a look, but we probably won’t.

“We’re just hunting for closure now.”

Marsden says the family will instead focus on putting posters up around the community, which include surveillance photos of Vanderveen entering the trails Thursday morning.

Posters are being handed out in Maple Ridge to help find a missing senior with dementia.
Posters are being handed out in Maple Ridge to help find a missing senior with dementia. Submitted by Vanderveen family

She’s also asking other neighbours in the area to check around buildings, under tarps and inside makeshift shelters in order to cover more ground. The family is also offering to do the same for less mobile neighbours who can’t check themselves.

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Marsden says her father requires dialysis on a daily basis. Missing it for a week would lead his body to shut down, ramping up the ticking clock already put on the search by cold weather.

Vanderveen’s encroaching dementia throughout the past year has only raised the family’s concerns even more.

READ MORE: Police hunt for Calgary man whose burned-out truck was found near Pemberton, B.C.

“He just hasn’t been himself lately, because he’s been watching himself deteriorate,” she said. “It’s hard for anyone, I assume, to watch yourself not be able to do the things you used to do.”

Vanderveen is described as a Caucasian man with a slim build and short grey hair. He was last seen wearing a turquoise coat, jeans, black boots, an orange toque and black gloves. RCMP say he responds to the name Ted.

Anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact Ridge Meadows RCMP.

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