The family of an elderly New Brunswick man missing since last summer is still looking for answers.
Paul Doughty, 76, was reported missing on Aug. 19, 2021. He was last seen the previous day at McKay’s Wild Blueberries in Pennfield.
His family says he was on “a blueberry kick.”
When RCMP found Doughty’s car two weeks later, the pie he bought at the stand that day sat untouched in the backseat.
Doughty’s 2013 Buick Verano was found deep in the woods about 10 km from the blueberry stand, snagged on a stump roughly 4.5 km down a series of old logging roads.
“I just can’t even imagine him going down this road at all,” says Amanda Saia, granddaughter of the missing man.
“It had to have been someone else.”
RCMP say they do not believe foul play to be involved in Doughty’s disappearance.
His daughter, Cheryl Beddow, says law enforcement seems eager to dismiss the case as an elderly man who got confused and lost.
Search and rescue looked through a 1-km area surrounding the recovered vehicle. The family and volunteers have searched beyond that in the months since.
There’s been no sign of Doughty.
Still, RCMP say the investigation is considered ongoing.
“The last update we put out would’ve been late November,” says Jullie Roberts-Marsh, Acting Sergeant with the Grand Bay-Westfield detachment.
“We did some ground search and rescue as late as October and then there was a helicopter out in December.”
With warmer weather here, Beddow says she, Saia and others intend to start combing through the woods where his car was found — even if they don’t believe he drove it there himself.
“It’s all I have,” Beddow says.
She says she’s more inclined to believe someone saw her father as an easy robbery target, later dumping his car where they didn’t think anyone would find it.
Had it not been for helicopter searches back in the summer, she says it could still be unfound.
The two women say even if they could talk themselves into believing Doughty got turned around and stuck, they don’t understand how the elderly man would dash off into the woods, or how there would be no evidence in the surrounding area.
They say Doughty had an colostomy bag, limiting his mobility.
“He wouldn’t go out for a hike,” Saia says.
The two say they’ve heard rumours about people knowing things about Doughty’s disappearance, but nothing that’s been substantiated.
They are pleading with anyone who might know something to speak up.
“Have the courage,” says Saia. “Even if it seems stupid or like a silly little rumour – call it in any way.”
“And make a report,” Beddow says.
When last seen, Doughty was wearing a black and white plaid long-sleeved button-up shirt over a black T-shirt with blue jeans and grey sneakers.
He was wearing a camouflage baseball hat.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the Grand Bay-Westfield RCMP at 506-757-1020.