A miniature robotic submarine will descend into the North Thompson River in search of May Milling when the weather improves.
"We haven't given up," Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Stuart Seib said of the effort to retrieve the missing 81-year-old's body.
The detachment has enlisted the aid of GP Recovery Services out of 70 Mile House. Owners Penny McAninch and husband Gary will use an underwater remotely operated vehicle to search the river.
Police believe Milling's southbound Buick veered off Highway 5 near Mad River and down a 30-metre embankment. Officers found bits of glass, a tail light and ICBC papers identifying Milling on Oct. 16.
An RCMP dive team searched the North Thompson last fall, but only found bits of Milling's 2009 Buick Lucerne before the water became too murky. Seib said a cadaver dog followed a scent for a distance downstream but river ice hindered the search.
That's where the McAninchs come in. He said the couple, who specialize in underwater recovery, have offered to help once it is easier to access the river.
McAninch said the ROV can search to a depth well beyond the 60 metres the car is likely submerged in. If the submersible can't find Milling's car, then she is confident the couple's side-scan sonar will.
"That shows us everything on the bottom of the river no matter how murky the water is," she said. "Even if the water is murky, the ROV can see much better than my husband, Gary, can if he is diving."
The ROV can go into the water at any time. But, being winter, snow and ice make it difficult for the McAninchs to get their equipment into the water, she said.
The couple make a living out of finding everything from bodies to submerged aircraft. McAninch said there's a good chance Milling is still in the car at the bottom of the river.
"We're very hopeful that we will be able to find her," said McAninch, adding she and Gary want to bring closure for Milling's friends and family.
Milling was not married and had no children. She left Gibsons Aug. 26 and headed for Grand Forks, Radium, Banff and then on to Jasper, a journey she makes annually.
She was en route to Kamloops from Jasper to visit her longtime friend Jenny John when she disappeared.
Meanwhile, a former Kamloops resident who disappeared after leaving her three-year-old daughter at a relative's in Surrey has turned up in Albert.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said police located Nikita Jack, 23, in Calgary. She is safe and sound.
Jack left her daughter, Hazel, at a cousin's home on Feb. 10 with the promise she'd pick her up that evening. She never did. Her family reported her missing Feb. 12.
Friend Sherisse Mousseau told The Daily News earlier this week that bank records showed Jack bought a bus ticket from Surrey to Kamloops on Feb. 11. Her bank card was used in Calgary on Monday.
SIDEBAR: Search continues for Tedd Tree
RCMP have not given up their search for Tedd Tree despite there being no sign of the missing Kamloops man for more than four months.
"We won't stop until we have some idea of his whereabouts," Const. Rose Dunsmore pledged Thursday. "It's still a very active investigation."
She said police have pursued multiple leads and continue to conduct interviews and follow up any tips that come in.
Tree, 67, owns Imprint City, a digital printing, scanning and embroidery business in North Kamloops. Employees told police he left the store at about 11 a.m. on Oct. 5 and may have been headed for a meeting in Kelowna. He did not arrive for his meeting at the expected time.
He was driving a white, four-door 1993 Lincoln Town Car with the licence plate 129 ETD.
Tree is six feet tall and weighs 168 pounds. He has ear-length grey hair, blue eyes and was last seen wearing jeans, a shirt and a black leather jacket.
Anyone with information is asked to phone RCMP at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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