Human remains found on Tla-o-qui-aht beach

Denise Titian, July 19, 2018

Human remains were found on the shore of Echachist Island on Wednesday, July 18, which is located west of Tofino and southwest of the Tla-o-qui-aht community of Opitsaht, pictured. (Eric Plummer photo)

Tofino, BC — 

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed that human remains were found on Echachist Island on Wednesday, July 18.

Echachist Island is located southwest of Tofino, just a few kilometers from Felice Island, the site of a June 15 boat accident where three Tla-o-qui-aht men went missing and are presumed drowned.

Andy Wilson of the BC Coroners Service cautions that it is too early to speculate about the possible identity of the remains, adding that they are in the very early stages of their fact-finding mission.

“Our role is to work on finding the identity of the remains with the any of the tools that we have,” said Olsen.

Tla-o-qui-aht Chief Executive Officer, Ted Adnitt, also confirmed that remains had been found at Echachist, located in Tla-o-qui-aht traditional territory.

Elected Chief Moses Martin could not be reached because he and other Tla-o-qui-aht members were out searching the local water and beaches.

Adnitt said the families of the missing men are anxiously awaiting news from the BC Coroner’s Service.

“This is a difficult time for the families – they need closure,” said Adnitt.

Andy Watson of the BC Coroners Service said he could not speculate on how long it would take to make a positive identification.

The coroner also stated that it is too early to speculate on the identity of the remains found near Tofino. In the early stages of their fact-finding mission, the provincial agency has not linked the recently discovered remains to the boating incident off of Tonfino  on June 15, and stated that it’s premature to male any connection to the disappearance of the three men.

The coroner stated they could not give a timeline for when they may have answers.

Tla-o-qui-aht leadership continues to ask that privacy of the families affected be respected in this very difficult time. They appreciate the support they have been receiving to date.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the support of the wives and children of the three missing Tla-o-qui-aht men. You may donate by going to https://ca.gofundme.com/providing-for-the-children

If you are feeling overwhelmed or upset, support can be found at Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation through Deb Botting and the Community Services Department. You can make an appointment with Deb through the Tiic-Mis-Aq’kin Health Centre at 250-725-3335 or by contacting Deb directly at 250-726-8790 or by email at counseling@tla-o-qui-aht.org

“Community support for the families impacted by the recent tragedy that took place one month ago continues to be vital,” reads a notice issued by the First Nation on Tuesday, July 17. “Over the last month, we have seen the nation come together and provide an incredible amount of support, however, as the three men remain missing, we ask that the support for the families remains strong.”