It has been almost two years since Wesley Foulds went missing, and last week his wife filed a formal complaint against the Abbotsford Police, who she claims have “dropped the ball” on the investigation.
Shelby Bernard is upset that her husband’s truck, found well off the route he should have been taking, and with his blood on the seats, has been repossessed. She thinks the police should have held it as evidence.
She said there are numerous people police should have interviewed, such as her son Troy Berg who lived with the couple, who police have never taken statements from. She said interviews with friends would have discounted the possibility that Foulds committed suicide, or purposely dropped out of his life.
She is angry that his cellphone calls have not been retrieved, when it appears to her that some have been deleted. She said police looked in the phone’s memory, but did not do a forensic examination of it. She is looking into having that done herself, at a cost of $2,500.
Foulds, 51, went missing on March 4, 2009. He had a doctor’s appointment in Burnaby to check on his high blood pressure. He had to work at 2 p.m. that day for Arcus, a company that runs group homes and day programs for disabled adults.
When he didn’t show up for his shift at a group home in Whonnock, Arcus employees called his cellphone, but those calls were not in the phone’s memory. His last outgoing call was 10:14 a.m. He also did not show up for his 11:30 a.m. medical appointment.
The next day his vehicle was found in the parking lot at the Hayward Lake recreation area. There was a small amount of blood visible in the centre of the driver’s seat, and it would later be found on the cigarette lighter, steering wheel, and on the inside of the driver’s door. DNA testing determined the blood belonged to Foulds.
The file was originally in the hands of the Mission RCMP, later transferred to Abbotsford. Bernard has already lodged a complaint against a Mission member, saying that he did not properly examine the truck. It was not fingerprinted. Police responded to the complaint, saying this work was not done because “…there was no indication nor suspicion of foul play, and indeed there were overtones that the missing person was possibly suicidal…”
She also complained that the file was “inappropriately transferred” to the Abbotsford Police Department.
Bernard said her common-law husband was a dedicated family man, with no drinking or drug problems. She read his journal, and said even when he went through a divorce and lost his family, which was his most emotional time, there was no reference to suicide.
“And even if he had said he was suicidal, it shouldn’t impact on the investigation,” noted her son, Troy Berg.
Bernard has been able to think of little else. She has visited the Hayward Lake site many times looking for some clue. She hired a team of cadaver dogs.
“I know he’s dead, I’ve come to terms with that,” said Bernard. “It doesn’t matter to me how he died, it matters to me that he’s found.”
Three weeks after his disappearance, Bernard hired a private investigator to search. Don Silcox also suspects foul play.
“There are some very odd events surrounding that case,” said the former Matsqui Police and RCMP officer.
The blood in the vehicle, and the fact that the truck was found so far off the Abbotsford-to-Burnaby route are both suspicious.
“From what I can gather, he wasn’t exhibiting suicidal tendencies, or planning something,” said Silcox. He noted that the morning of the disappearance Foulds was making calls, looking to pick up additional evening shifts at work – not the actions of a man who was about to take his own life, or deliberately disappear.
There were no financial transactions, no contacts with people after the disappearance, and Silcox could find no sign that Foulds had a private life that his family and friends did not know about.
He said the Mission RCMP did a thorough search of the area, with dog teams and helicopters, and dragging the lake.
“They did as much as they could, as fast as they could,” he said.
The PI said it is still impossible to rule out suicide, homicide or an accidental death.
He is no longer on the case, which he says has become cold, but hopes the missing man’s wife and the rest of the family get the answers they are looking for.
“Burying people is different,” said Bernard. “Now, the first thing you think of when you wake up is him, and the last thing is him.”
On Monday morning, it was still too early in the complaint process for police to comment on specific grievances.
However, Const. Ian MacDonald said police have maintained an ongoing dialogue with the complainant, there has been “a wealth of forensic work” done, including processing the vehicle, and the thick file includes 19 people, most of whom have been interviewed.
He added the last activity on the file was during August 2010.
He said police will try to remedy the complaints.
Foulds is Caucasian, about 5’8”, 250 lbs with brown hair. He was last seen wearing black sweatpants, a two-tone grey and black sweatshirt, and black skater-style running shoes.
Anyone with information should contact the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225.