The search continues for the missing 82-year-old Oak Bay resident, Gladys Barman, after nothing came of three promising potential sightings in the Lake Cowichan area last week.
Barman, who was last seen at the Petro Can on West Saanich Rd. at 10 a.m. on July 5, has not used her phone or bank accounts since that morning.
Thank you @bcrcmp Air 8 for conducting an aerial search for Ms. Barman and her vehicle today. Although it was not successful, we greatly appreciate your support. #partnership pic.twitter.com/N43jz0FnM1
— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) July 18, 2018
Gladys Barman’s son Neil Barman is “about at his wit’s end, and doesn’t know what else to do.”
“Usually they will turn up. They will run out of steam. They will somehow encounter somebody and that will be it. But there has been no sign of my mom or her car which is really what is baffling them because cars don’t just vanish like this,” said Barman. “The public has been out there for days now, aware and watching and there has just been no sign. The police are relying on them for leads at this point.”
We are hoping for a new lead or tip today about my mom. Everyone, while looking for her or her car, be aware of areas where a car may have gone off the road and be hard to see from the road – Just in case. New poster: https://t.co/Wpm5SrWW97 https://t.co/WlbmQYHvJ5
— Neil Barman (@nlbrmn) July 20, 2018
One of the leads last week came from a store in Lake Cowichan, but after reviewing security footage Barman knew it wasn’t her.
“But I can see why people phoned it in. Not knowing her, I think it was good that they phoned it in because it was close enough,” said Barman.
The three sightings – one where a man is 95 per cent sure it was her, one in a driveway where the woman was quite sure, and one at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre – were all on the same day, all with enough time to get between them, said Barman.
“It was too many possible sightings and interactions to not treat it seriously. That’s when police started up the search and rescue in that area. All three sightings were on the afternoon of July 5, the same day she was seen at the gas station on West Saanich,” said Barman.
While those sightings didn’t result in finding his mom, Barman is still hopeful that his mom will be found safe.
“She’s fairly tough and independent so I wouldn’t at all be surprised if she had a case or two of water in the car and was surviving off a $5 sandwich a day,” said Barman, noting that she probably had about $100 of pocket-money at the time.
Gladys Barman is known for her social and chatty ways and her reliable nature. She has been delivering newspapers in her south Oak Bay neighbourhood for the last 20 years, waking in the middle of the night to deliver the papers.
“She had people on her route that worked Eastern hours so she knew that if she could get them their paper at 4 a.m. they could read it by 5 a.m. and get to work at 5 or 5:30 a.m. remotely,” said Barman.
That daily routine had police familiar with Gladys as they would often see her as they patrolled at night. It was also what led to a quick response when the papers weren’t delivered on July 6. Barman believes it was one of the people on her route that called in concern, after Barman “who didn’t miss a day in 20 years” was mysteriously absent that morning.
In recent weeks, Gladys Barman had expressed some concern about her memory.
“She said that if she didn’t take the exact same route to her regular destinations, she found herself getting a little disoriented as to where she was. She also started to have trouble operating her cell phone even though she’s had it for a long time,” said Barman.
She went to the doctor in mid-June and mentioned the memory issues. The doctor did an in-office assessment and didn’t see any flags for doing the next level of assessment, said Barman.
“But everyone I’ve spoken to says that in the last couple of weeks her memory did seem to start going a little bit but otherwise she was totally normal. Social and chatty, the whole thing,” said Barman.
A province-wide alert is in place and people are encouraged to keep their eyes out all over the Island as, though there were the potential leads in the Cowichan Lake area, the Petro Can on West Saanich Rd. was “the last she was confirmed 100 per cent anywhere”.
Barman asks that if there are any trail running groups or off-roading groups, geocaching groups, anyone going off the beaten path, it would be good for them to keep an eye out.
“Sadly, our search for Ms Barman continues and we have no update. We’re following up on any tips we receive but asking people up island to also be aware,” said Oak Bay police in a release this week.
“I’ve assured everyone I’ve spoken to that when she’s found, there will be enough media that you will know,” said Barman. “So until that time, please just watch as you are going from point a to point b. If you have 2 or 3 routes that you take from point a to point b maybe do those just to keep an eye out. Because she is still out there, somewhere.”
Thank you for the highway display signs! It will help so much having everyone watching out for my mom and her car (2002 dark green Honda Accord sedan lic 940 RGA) especially in the #Cowichan Valley area. https://t.co/WlbmQYHvJ5 pic.twitter.com/yhhLiXFeh6
— Neil Barman (@nlbrmn) July 14, 2018
Ms. Barman was wearing glasses, a teal windbreaker, jeans and white sneakers.
She was driving a 2002 Honda Accord with BC License 940 RGA.
“We need everyone to be aware of this and to keep their eyes open for her or her vehicle,” said Bernoties. “I will absolutely inform you of any information we receive that changes our search area. That has not occurred at this time.”
Anyone with information can call Oak Bay Police Department at 250-592-2424.
Barman shared a new missing poster online yesterday (July 19) and asks that people print, post, and share it. It can be downloaded here.