The search for a Campbell River man missing since last December came to a tragic end last weekend with the discovery and identification of the body of 26-year-old Trevor Lyttle.
The cause of death has not yet been determined, but Campbell River RCMP have ruled out “suspicious circumstances” and the B.C. Coroners service continues to investigate the case.
Lyttle was last seen Dec. 7, when he left his parents’ home at 2277 Steelhead Road to feed some deer he saw in the nearby woods. His disappearance led to a large-scale search by family and RCMP, augmented by sharing of information through CrimeStoppers and several social media sites.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed this week that a body was found by fishermen working in the waters near West Thurlow Island, north of Campbell River, on February 8. It was not identified as Lyttle until last Friday, when a DNA match was made.
“We didn’t get an easy cause of death,” said Barb McClintock of the BC Coroner’s Service. “He had no I.D. and there were no clearly identifying marks. We didn’t know who this person was.”
The Coroners Service worked with RCMP missing persons files and, due to the location of the body, in the middle of the channel three-quarters of a mile east of Ripple Point, focussed on the Campbell River region.
“Several possible missing persons were brought forward and we started working,” said McClintock. “With DNA, you need to have some possible known (sample) to compare it to. Last week we did, in fact, confirm that this was a gentleman named Trevor Lyttle.”
While the cause of death remains under investigation, investigators believe Lyttle died at or near the time of his disappearance, even as his family and RCMP scoured the region and asked for reports of possible sightings from the public. The question of how Lyttle got from his home to the channel off Ripple Point remains a mystery.
“It’s not clear to us, and probably never will be clear to us, how he ended up in the water there,” said McClintock. The discovery does provide closure to Lyttle’s family, which thanked the community for its assistance in searching and sharing information following Lyttle’s disappearance.
“It’s really hard to speculate on what might have happened considering nobody really knows what happened exactly and what Trevor might have been thinking at the time,” Kerry Lyttle, Trevor’s brother, told CHEK News. “He’s peaceful now; his troubled mind can rest. We’ve had great support from friends and family, the community of Campbell River, the RCMP; too many to possibly name.”
At the time of his disappearance, Lyttle’s family said it was out of character for Lyttle to wander off, and that he’d never been gone overnight before.
The family immediately posted signs around the neighbourhood and notified the public through social media. On Dec. 10 his disappearance was listed on the Missing People Canada website.