By Stephen Dafoe
Edmonton – RCMP investigators and forensic experts are currently on location where the Hyundai Tucson owned by missing St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann has been discovered. As Police consider the location to be a potential crime scene, they are not releasing the location for that reason.
Earlier this afternoon, RCMP released the photo and name of a person of interest in the McCann case. Police are currently looking for 38-year-old Travis Edward Vader, of no fixed address. Vader has a number of outstanding warrants, a history of drug abuse, and has been known to carry firearms. RCMP are cautioning the public not to approach Vader should they encounter him, but to phone their local RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Hourihan told media that Vader became known to RCMP through the course of the investigation and, although there is no known address for the man, he is believed to frequent the Edson and Hinton areas. Hourihan said Vader is not considered a suspect at this time, but would not provide any details other than the RCMP wished to interview him.
“We don’t know where Mr. Vader is right now,” Hourihan said. “We need the public’s help in trying to locate him.”
Vader is described as a white male with red hair and hazel eyes, six-foot-two (183 cm) in height and weighing 220 pounds (104 kg). He may or may not have a goatee.
While the heat is on Travis Vader, the heat is also on RCMP for their handling of the case in Prince George B.C., where a tip alerting police to the possible whereabouts of the McCann’s SUV was not handled efficiently by staff, prompting RCMP to issue a press release to relocate the witnesses. The Prince George incident added to criticism stemming from the five-day span between the McCann’s motor home being found ablaze and the issuing of the missing persons bulletin.
“A couple of mistakes have been made,” Hourihan said of the progress in the case thus far. “We were slow in getting going. The information wasn’t passed on. A couple of things weren’t followed up on.”
The assistant commissioner said a member of the RCMP has been put on administrative duties as a result; however RCMP are not disclosing which detachment the member belonged to.
Hourihan said there are currently 20 investigators working the McCann file on a full time basis and that 100 officers have been involved from a variety of detachments and units since the investigation began.