Pierce Melnick was working at the Ladysmith Visitor Centre last week when a strange interaction with a patron asking about blueberries prompted him to phone the RCMP.
“He came in and it was just kind of an odd interaction and I just went away from it thinking that was kind of strange,” said Melnick who recently graduated from Ladysmith Secondary and was hired on by the Chamber of Commerce for the summer.
Shortly thereafter he clicked through the Chronicle’s website to www.BCLocalNews.com and almost instantly realized the person he had just helped was in fact missing from the mainland.
The headline of one of the stories read ‘Missing Langley man may be on Vancouver Island’ and included a picture of 20-year-old Malik Mohamed, who RCMP believed may be heading to Courtenay.
As it would turn out, Mohamed had gone missing a week earlier on Aug. 5 and police and his family were concerned because he was without his medication.
The young man had gone missing in the past but it had never been for more than four days and usually he reached out to his mother to let her know his whereabouts.
Melnick remembers the picture accompanying the story was an exact match and that additional information provided by investigators also seemed to line up.
“The description was very spot on…he’s very thin – that was the first thing I kind of noticed,” said Melnick, adding that “when he came in he was asking for blueberries and in the description it mentions that he’s a healthy eater and likes being around farms.”
Mohamed left on foot going up the hill towards First Avenue.
Once he read the story later on Melnick immediately got on the phone to Langley RCMP and let them know that Mohamed could be in Ladysmith.
“I phoned the (RCMP) number and gave my information and he was pretty confident that I came in contact with him and if they had any more questions they’d get back to me,” Melnick said.
Mohamed was found safe this past Sunday in Chilliwack and RCMP thanked Melnick and others who helped in the search.