Man missing from Fraser Valley prompts massive police operation near Grand Forks

Man missing from Fraser Valley prompts massive police operation near Grand Forks

RCMP saying little about the case of Wilfred Kilgren of Popkum who was eventually found in Creston

A Popkum resident who was the subject of a June 19 missing persons report prompted a heavy police presence in Christina Lake on June 13 where he was believed to be a danger to RCMP officers.

And police are saying little about the case but say there was “not perceived risk” to the public.

Wilfred James Kilgren was first the subject of an Upper Fraser Valley RCMP missing person press release in May that said he was last seen on April 11 by a friend.

• READ MORE: Missing Chilliwack man may be travelling to Grand Forks on motorcycle

At that time police did not report the nature of Kilgren’s file, but he is charged with four firearms offences from Christina Lake from July 2017 in a case that is not yet resolved, according to information on Court Services Online.

Then on June 19, Chilliwack RCMP issued another missing person press release for the 69-year-old who is described as being from Popkum.

In both releases from May and June, police stated Kilgren was believed to be travelling via the Coquihalla between Rosedale, Grand Forks and Creston.

RCMP said he was last seen by a “caregiver” on June 12.

“Police and caregivers are concerned for Mr. Kilgren’s well-being and believe he may be in need of medical attention,” the June 19 release said.

On June 20, local police issued a follow-up stating Kilgren was found “safe and sound.”

• READ MORE: Popkum man located

But on June 13, six days before the missing persons report was issued, 20 or more RCMP officers, including members of a tactical emergency response team from the Lower Mainland, were conducting a “sensitive” operation in the Christina Lake area.

Sgt. Mike Wicentowich with the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment was on site at the operation’s incident command at the Christina Lake Fire Hall on June 14. He declined comment at points throughout the afternoon as the operation was ongoing.

On June 15, Wicentowich confirmed the RCMP conducted a “sensitive” operation in Christina Lake. Emergency response teams from the Lower Mainland and Kelowna were in the area, and Wicentowich said approximately 20 of those members were involved.

Grand Forks Gazette reporter Kathleen Saylors was on scene for parts of the afternoon and evening. She witnessed a road block on West Lake Drive that included four vehicles and at least four officers, all heavily armed. Later in the afternoon she witnessed a police dog and handler on the site at West Lake Drive, as well as a helicopter flying overhead.

At the time, she was advised by RCMP not to post on social media, especially photos, due to the nature of the operation. She was also advised to remain in her car as RCMP were expecting an interaction of some kind, though details were not given. She was not asked to leave the scene.

RCMP declined to comment on prevailing rumour as to the nature of the operation.

At the incident command post, Saylors witnessed a dozen or more officers and about a dozen unmarked police vehicles, in addition to a large RCMP tactical unit resembling an armoured van.

Saylors heard what sounded like at least one gunshot, though was unable to confirm that there had been gunfire.

No arrest was made June 14, Wicentowich said, but he added there is “no perceived risk” to the public.

As of June 15, the emergency response team was no longer involved in the ongoing investigation and it had been turned over to Grand Forks RCMP, Wicentowich said.

He was located near Creston on June 21.

Upper Fraser Valley Regional RCMP based in Chilliwack declined further comment citing privacy concerns.

Insp. Tim Olmstead of the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment said the detachment received notification that Kilgren was believed to be in the area and the detachment was lending assistance.

“Let’s put it this way: people react in different ways to police,” Olmstead said, in response to a question about the heavy police presence for a missing persons case. “We believed we should provide heightened security for RCMP.”

“There was potential danger to RCMP,” he added. Olmstead declined to comment any underlying reasons for this potentially heightened reaction, including medical or mental health.

Kilgren is due in Chilliwack provincial court on July 10 facing an application to prohibit him from possession firearms under section 111 of the criminal code.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Man missing from Fraser Valley prompts massive police operation near Grand Forks

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

Most Read