He’s a beloved brother and cousin, an attentive grandson, and a loving father. And he’s still missing.
Since his disappearance on January 15, Chauncey Grover’s family and a team of police and volunteers have been tirelessly combing the woods between Couchiching First nation and Fort Frances, hoping for any sign of the missing man.
Volunteer efforts have been headed up by Grover’s cousin, Nikki Perreault. She organizes a team of volunteers almost daily, plotting search zones on maps, searching by snow machine and snowshoe, and collaborating with police. Her voice sounds weary and worried, but determined.
“It feels so confusing. Nobody knows anything,” she said. “He was home, and then he was gone.”
Perreault’s team is just a small part of the mounting search operation underway. Last week, Treaty #3 Police invited the OPP to join. CN police officers have also assisted by inspecting and monitoring lengths of track, she said. A helicopter and two canine units have been deployed, and Bob Calder has been assisting with a drone. The Couchiching First Nation Band and Seven Generations have lent their support and Borderland Snowmobile Club has been checking trails.
The dedicated team of volunteers includes Mike Thompson, Rachel Martineau, Ruthann and Tyrone Taylor, Vernon Horton, Ian Bockman, Garret Bruyere and Dave Goodwin, but more are aways welcome.
“I’m so grateful for all their support,” said Perreault.
On the search team each day is Grover’s sister, Chelsea Blackjack. The experience has been hard on Blackjack and the rest of the family, but it’s the times of quiet that are hardest.
“She’s tough. She keeps going. But there are times she breaks down, because of the unknown,” said Perreault. ” You’re out there, wondering where he might be. When you’re tired, you stop, and it gives you time to think and reflect, and that’s when the emotions come.”
Grover is deeply missed by his whole family, she said.
“He’s all about family, he loves his family,” she said. “He’s shy, and likes to laugh. He has a good sense of humour. He loves his kids and spends time with his Grandpa, helping out.
“I love him. He’s my little cousin. He’s like my little brother.”
It’s not a secret that Grover has suffered from alcoholism in his life. But his family was his top priority, and he was on the road to recovery.
“Addictions are a vicious cycle, it’s hard to escape from it,” she said. But Grover was beating his addiction, for himself, his kids and his family. “He was trying to improve his life.”
If Perreault could send any message to her little cousin Chauncey, it would be “that we hope he’s safe. And please, please contact someone. Anyone.”
The group is accepting assistance, and is grateful for everything they’ve already received. In addition to time in the woods, people have donated equipment, food and water for volunteers, and cash to build a reward. “Every little bit helps and it’s all appreciated,” she said.
She’s also asking local residents to be aware, by checking buildings and properties- he went missing two days before the region’s last large snowfall, so tracks may not be obvious. “Just be mindful,” she requested.
Anyone wishing to help the volunteer search effort can message Perreault on Facebook, or text her at 271-3088, to find the next meeting location.
Grover, 30, was last seen on January 15, on Couchiching First Nation. He was last seen wearing a multi-coloured toque, a long black jacket, blue jeans and white/black hi-top shoes. He is described as being a First Nation male, 158 cm (5’2″), 46 kg (102 lbs), with long dark hair, brown eyes and a heart shaped tattoo at the very top of his cheek bone, under his right eye.
Any person with information regarding this missing person investigation should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or the dedicated Tip Line at 1-866-411-0648.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or access their website at www.p3tips.com/273 where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000. Grover’s family is also offering a $500.