The family of missing seven-year-old Greagan Geldenhuys is asking for the help of volunteers as they search for him days after his mother was found dead on a beach in Fort Qu’Appelle.
Darcy Pantel said his sister, Tamaine Geldenhuys, and her son were at B-Say-Tah beach on Echo Lake at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Her body washed up nearly three kilometres away on Sunset Beach near the Fort Qu’Appelle campground on Saturday.
RCMP do not believe foul play was a factor in her death.
“Recovery efforts are currently focused on the beach around B-Say-Tah, where it is believed Greagan and his mother Tamaine were on Friday. The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team is searching this area. RCMP Police Dog Services conducted a ground search this morning and located nothing to further the investigation,” an RCMP release stated on Monday afternoon.
Sgt. Drew Wagner added there’s a river connecting Echo Lake to Mission Lake, and search teams are investigating both the river and Mission Lake as well.
He said investigators are now treating this is a recovery effort, meaning they believe Greagan will be found deceased.
“These types of investigations generally are not easy, mostly because there are a lot of unanswered questions and sometimes it just takes time to have those questions answered,” said Wagner.
He said Fort Qu’Appelle RCMP supports the family’s search efforts.
Family members have been coordinating volunteers to help with the search for Greagan. They have set up a makeshift command centre at 234 Boundary Avenue in Fort Qu’Appelle and are sharing information through a Facebook page called Finding Greagan.
A post made within the same hour as the RCMP news release continued to ask for help with the search.
“The family is totally messed up to be fair, but we are getting by and all of our efforts right now are focused on finding Greagan,” Pantel said.
“So it’s really not as much of a time to grieve but rather we are focusing on trying to find Greagan and hopefully he’s still alive and doing OK.”
As of Monday at noon, Pantel said they had about 50 volunteers from the area searching the shorelines and the water by boat for any sign of his missing nephew, who’s described as blonde with a slim build.
The Facebook page is sharing updates on the search with nearly 2,400 followers. A post attributed to the family suggests they believe Tamaine died in a swimming accident because the winds were extremely high on Friday.
However, Wagner confirmed Fort Qu’Appelle RCMP are unsure of how Tamaine ended up in the water or of any activities they were taking part in.
“No one else was on the beach that they found her car at, and someone has turned in a swim bag and Greagan’s shoes,” the post said.
“No one knows for sure at the moment, but she could have went to help him in the water or he could have went to help her.”
The Facebook post goes on to ask people to focus on the intent of the page to find Greagan, rather than speculating on the circumstances surrounding what happened.
Pantel thanked the community and the RCMP for their work and communication with the family. He said the family wants to spread the message for the public to help with the search efforts in any way they can.
Those who want to help can go to the Facebook page to find more information or go to the command centre at 234 Boundary Ave.
Anyone with information that could help with the search is also asked to contact their local RCMP detachment or Fort Qu’Appelle RCMP at 306-332-222.
— With files from 980 CJME’s Adrianna Christianson and Jayda Noyes