Body found in Riverdale search

Ryan Ross
Published on March 4, 2016

The search has ended for a man missing in the Riverdale area after his body was found Friday.

Dr. Donald Stephens was reported missing after he went for a run sometime Wednesday and didn’t return home.

RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler said the searchers found Stephens’s body around 1 p.m. Friday in the Bonshaw Hills area.

“He was found within that area we were searching,” she said.

Stephens was an ultra-marathon runner who used trails in the Churchill, Strathgartney and Riverdale areas.

He left home Wednesday sometime after 8 a.m., but when he didn’t return by 6 p.m. his family started to worry and began looking for him.

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Stephens’s truck was found on Bolger Park Road, which is where the search and rescue operation staging area was set up.

Rain and snow fell in that area overnight Wednesday and at times over the last few days temperatures dropped well below zero.

An RCMP dog and his handler worked overnight Wednesday searching the area.

A full search and rescue operation, including two helicopters, started Thursday morning.

Butler said the search has ended, but an investigation is still ongoing to figure out what happened to Stephens.

“It’s not a suspicious death investigation,” she said.

P.E.I.’s coroner’s office will conduct an autopsy to determine a cause of death, but Butler didn’t know when that would be done.

Butler said as of Friday afternoon there were still search and rescue team members on site at the staging point on Bolger Park Road as they debrief and finish other work related to the search.

“They’re not really done, but they’re finished the search,” she said.

Stephens’s family asked the RCMP to express thanks to all the people involved in the search, concerned callers and the public for all their help and well wishes.