That’s the question everyone
is asking following the disappearance of Susan Barnes
and Daniel Pauze. The pair, from Mississauga, just
outside Toronto, were living the trip of their dreams in
northern Labrador on the Korok River.
Daniel, 31, and Susan 32 are
now certainly dead and their bodies have not been
recovered despite several attempts to find the pair who
were reported missing Aug 24 , two days after they
missed their charter flight at the mouth of the Korok.
Labrador RCMP officials said
yesterday the search included military helicopters
scanning the remote, mountainous area which lies on the
Quebec-Labrador border south of Nachvak Fjord .
Rescue officials finally
called off the search for two Ontario hikers on Sept
10. The reality is the pair ran into trouble weeks
earlier at the very start of the trip when the mountain
climb was planned for. At 5413 feet, Mt. D’Iberville
(also known as Mt. Caubvik on the Labrador side) is not
a technical climb but the area is extremely remote and
conditions combined with the rugged terrain made the
search time sporadic and it necessary to stop the search
for safety reasons, RCMP Staff Sergeant Dominic Broaders
said. Air and ground searches of the area turned up a
canoe, a loaded rifle and a satellite phone. The canoe
was cached several miles away back at the Korok all
other items were at basecamp.
Sgt. Broaders said a
climbing harness belonging to Mr. Pauze was also found
away from the camp with no obvious signs of anything
untoward. He said the case will be left as an open file,
but searchers won't be able to get back into the area
until next June.
Georgette Pauze was
convinced soon after the pair missed their flight out
that something bad happened to her youngest son, an
adept winter camper who left her a detailed map of where
the couple would be each day throughout their journey,
as well as the number for the satellite phone he carries
on all trips.
She last heard from him Aug.
8 and believes the couple ran into trouble climbing the
mountain. "Where else would they go? They left their
canoe, their phone, their rifle, everything at camp.
"They were a couple that
like to do everything together," she said, beginning to
cry. "They would clean their cars together, get
groceries. They were just like one person. They were in
After the couple failed to
meet a plane they had arranged to fly them out of the
wilderness near the Quebec-Newfoundland border to Goose
Bay on Aug. 22, Georgette Pauze contacted police.
Recently, the couple’s van
was returned from Labrador by a friend. Their personal
effects were inside: identification and photos processed
by the authorities in search of clues that were made
from reels of film left in the couple's tent.
All were moments retracing
the steps of the missing duo that the Barneses had never
seen, including photos of Susan Barnes disembarking from
the Air Inuit flight that dropped the couple off near
their last known campsite.
The Barneses have accepted
the search is over. "We have asked them to leave the
food there, enough for three weeks, (along with) the
tent and the boat and a satellite phone ... one
kilometre from the (mountain) base on the Quebec side,"
Betty Barnes said.
And while they hope against
hope the pair return to their waiting tent, they are
planned a memorial service in Mississauga for Oct. 11.
Gaston and Georgette Pauze, Daniel's parents, will be
driving from Sudbury to stay with them during the week.
Betty Barnes and her husband
John Barnes received a fax from the RCMP's detachment in
Nain, northern Labrador, telling them the search for the
missing Mississauga couple was officially over.
"These two persons have not
been located and are presumed to be dead," read the
letter from Sergeant Kevin Baillie.
— Michael Peake