Sunday January 10, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated at 8:17 pm on January 12, 2021, and January 19, 2021]
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
The body of missing person Andre Courtemanche has been located, as reported by West Shore RCMP yesterday evening, January 9. [RCMP File #2021-74].
Police say they do not suspect foul play, but the cause of death is under investigation, it was stated in a written news release from West Shore RCMP issued at 8:32 pm Saturday evening. [Update January 12: Andre took his own life.]
The 16-year-old’s body was found yesterday evening in Goldstream Provincial Park which is located within the municipality of Langford. The discovery was made by Metchosin Search and Rescue and Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue who were working alongside police to search the park. The teen evidently jumped off the trellis bridge in the provincial park, which has no safety barriers.
Andre had been a student registered in the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) through Belmont Secondary School in Langford and Westshore Centre for Learning and Training. He was apparently suffering from mental health distress; reportedly psychological supports were offered to him through his family — two days after he went missing.
The search took several days:
The eventual finding of the body came after eight days. The teen was last seen on the evening of New Year’s Day and was known to frequent park and trails in Langford and Victoria. Family, friends and the community came together in the recent days to form search parties throughout the region.
“Our condolences go out to Andre Courtemanche’s family who have been notified and have asked that their privacy be respected during this difficult time,” it was stated in the RCMP release to media.
“Police and BC Coroners Service are conducting parallel investigations to determine all the facts,” said Cst Nancy Saggar, Media Relations Officer, West Shore RCMP.
As reported by media earlier in the week, Andre Courtemanche reportedly headed into the woods after an argument with his parents about the use of computer or video games. He was apparently not fully equipped (as in not planning ahead) for an outdoor excursion in the woods.
Goldstream Provincial Park has numerous trails with a range of difficulty. The trails crisscross through the dramatically different terrain of two distinct vegetation zones.
Impact on peers:
Dealing with the suicide of a friend or fellow student is hard enough, but during the ongoing stress of the pandemic that can further complicate the emotional responses in the school community.
Counsellors were made available at Belmont Secondary School as well as Westshore Centre for Learning & Training for those who might need some extra support. That availability was posted on the SD62 Facebook page.