Almost two months after the mysterious car crash and subsequent disappearance of Roberts Creeker Greg Welstead, his daughter has begun preparations to return to Quebec with her mother — but they haven’t abandoned hope he might still be found.
Lindsay Bainbridge, 28, came to the Coast soon after she heard of her father’s disappearance.
But the search for 56-year-old Welstead was only successful in finding more unanswered questions, making the process of acceptance a difficult one for Bainbridge.
“It’s hard to say what to accept because there’s not much information other than he’s not here,” she said, sitting across the table from her mother Kathy at the Gumboot Café.
The two made the journey from Quebec on Easter Sunday and have been working to find clues about Welstead’s whereabouts, placing posters throughout the neighbourhood and even in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Bainbridge related the story of how she announced her desire on Facebook to head West and find her father, only to have numerous friends offer donations to get her there.
She was in Ottawa the day her father went missing and received the news from Welstead’s roommate the day after.
“She said that my dad was missing and sort of detailed what she knew up until then. I broke down and had a very strong reaction. I don’t know, I wasn’t sure what to do at first, like I was rather helpless, I wanted to be here to help,” she said.
A significant volunteer search effort was carried out in the days after March 12, when Welstead’s car was found crashed into a tree on Reed Road, the driver missing.
Search and rescue teams combed the area until March 17, but found no trace of Welstead. Video footage from the ferry terminals was also reviewed, but since then, new information has been a rare commodity.
A Facebook page called Missing Person – Greg Welstead has since accumulated a number of mysterious sightings and discussions about possible search strategies. But so far, none have proved useful in the search.
Questions have arisen regarding the state of Welstead’s mental health, and whether or not his disappearance might have been intentional.
But the family maintains that reports of his behaviour on the day he disappeared seemed unlike him. Bainbridge described her father as a generally calm person.
“He had his ups and downs,” said Bainbridge, who related conversations with her father about the bi-polar tendencies that run in their family. “The spring time is often time where your emotions can get very out of whack.”
But Welstead’s behaviour on March 12 was something different, described by witnesses as “incoherent.”
Having recently been checked for arrhythmia, theories about Welstead having a possible heart condition have also surfaced. His daughter also said that Welstead had been fasting for numerous days before the accident.
Kathy Bainbridge said the remains of Welstead’s vehicle caused her to consider the possibility that Lindsay’s father had been severely injured in the crash and may have been operating on adrenaline when he vanished.
“I don’t know how anybody could walk away from it and he did,” she said.
But as to what happened between Welstead’s early morning car crash and the afternoon when he was subsequently reported missing, much remains a mystery.
“I think it’s very possible he hitched a ride somewhere. I think if he did survive the crash, there’s a bunch of possibilities,” Bainbridge said.
She called upon the community to place more posters in prominent places in hope that new information could come forward.
Sgt. Michael McCarthy of the Sunshine Coast RCMP said locating Welstead remains a priority for the detachment.
“It’s not a file that was just sort of tucked away by any stretch. It’s one we’re always trying to think of other approaches to,” he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the RCMP at 604-885-2266.
Welstead was described as Caucasian, roughly 200 pounds and over six feet tall according to his family. A map of the previously searched areas has been posted on the public Facebook page.