Community fears body found in Chilliwack is that of missing senior
Ethel 'Grace' Baranyk is shown in an image provided by the Chilliwack RCMP.
Ian Holliday, CTV News Vancouver
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 3:16PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 21, 2019 3:17PM PDT
An elderly Chilliwack woman who has been missing since mid-July is believed to have been found dead, according to a post on a Facebook group dedicated to finding her.
Mounties in the city told CTV News Vancouver a woman's body was discovered Tuesday on private property in the area where Ethal Baranyk, who went by "Grace," had gone missing.
Police said they can't confirm that the remains found belong to Baranyk, only that the BC Coroners Service has taken over the investigation.
Chilliwack RCMP's Serious Crimes Section was initially called to the scene where the body was discovered, police said, adding that there is no evidence of criminality.
Baranyk was last seen by a caregiver on July 13 on Lenora Crescent in Chilliwack.
Last month, family members told CTV News they were frustrated by her disappearance.
"As unfortunate as it is to have a relative pass away, there's some closure. There's no closure to this situation," said Dick Richards, her nephew, from his home in Alberta. "I just don't know how far an 86-year-old can go."
Baranyk has dementia. Police and search and rescue crews were involved in the search for her, which police said covered a wide area.
Members of the community also rallied around the search effort.
"We've got businesses volunteering to copy flyers, businesses distributing flyers," Richards said. "That part has been really reassuring."
Baranyk was an avid flea market attendee, and would set up a table at one in Chilliwack every week.
Richards says the flea market community was the first group to take up the search, setting up a command post at a local church.
Baranyk and her husband moved to the Chilliwack area in the 1980s from Alberta, after she retired as a teacher.
She is one of nine children, with Richards' father and a sister being her only siblings left.
"This has been quite difficult for my dad," said Richards. "Being the youngest of nine and having two sisters left, he was hoping for a positive outcome."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Nick Wells