Complex search comes to a tragic end

Delta police say foul play is not suspected in the missing persons’ case of an elderly North Delta man that came to a tragic conclusion Sunday night.

According to DPD, the body of 88-year-old Jarnail Sanghera, missing since May 15, was located by a member of the public on a remote corner of a business property, located in the 10,000 block of River Way.

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Officers attended and secured the scene, and the Integrated Forensic Investigative Services team was also called in. Sanghera’s family was notified Sunday evening.

“At this time foul play is not suspected,” said DPD spokesperson Cris Leykauf, adding that Delta Police Victim Services has been working with the family, and will continue to offer support. “The search for Mr. Sanghera was the top priority for the Delta police these past 10 days, with significant resources redirected to the effort to find him.”

She said search and rescue was called out three times, with 78 searchers deployed over an extensive area, including riverbanks and coastlines. Police dogs were brought out, and Air 1 went up four times.

“We’d like to thank the Surrey RCMP, City of Surrey, and Metro Vancouver Transit Police’s Physical Security Department for their assistance on this file as they pulled and reviewed video, and checked many areas,” she said. “We want to recognize the Commercial Vehicle Inspector who even came in on his anniversary to pull video. So many individuals, businesses and community groups contributed to the effort to find Mr. Sanghera.”

Leykauf said there have been a number of questions posed about how police conduct a search of this scale, and how they prioritize resources. Simply put, police devote resources to work off the last confirmed sighting, and this must be a systematic process, so that efforts can be best prioritized, she said.

A number of people also expressed interest in volunteering in organized searches.

Leykauf said the DPD rely on South Fraser Search and Rescue, which is a group of highly trained and equipped volunteers, who conduct grid searches, and provide police a detailed map of search efforts. There can be liability and safety considerations, and logistical issues using untrained volunteers.

“Although this search had an unfortunate outcome, we do want to underscore the importance video footage plays in this type of search,” added Leykauf. “If you have a property in Delta with CCTV cameras, please consider registering for our Community Watch Program. This helps save police time, and provides a contact person and phone number that police can call to request video footage.”

Finally, she recommends that families with loved ones experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s consider registering with a program such as Project Lifesaver, endorsed by South Fraser Search and Rescue, or using GPS trackers to help monitor their loved ones, if they are prone to wandering.

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