Missing snowmobiler a hoax, say RCMP

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After a “distress call” prompted RCMP to launch a far-reaching search and rescue operation for a missing snowmobiler last week, Mounties now say they received a “false report.”

“The direction of the investigation has revealed that this was not a real complaint, but rather a false report,” wrote Const. Heather Cosenzo of Yellowknife RCMP in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.

The Hay River RCMP detachment was notified of the “potentially missing” traveller just before midnight on Jan. 8 after a “distress call” was made to police.

The caller, according to police, provided them with a name, who they believed to be the missing snowmobiler.

The call was traced to a cell tower near Behchoko, prompting air and ground searches in areas near the community and around Whati.

The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), aided the search effort last week, joining forces with several RCMP detachments.

“Making a false report to police is a criminal offence, which ties up resources that could be better used responding to where they are truly needed,” stated Cosenzo Wednesday.

Mounties are asking residents with information about the person or persons responsible for the “hoax” call to come forward to police. Residents are urged to contact Behchoko RCMP at 1-867-392-1111, or anonymous at Crimestoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at editorial@nnsl.com.

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