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There’s a quiver and anxiousness in Josie Naterer’s voice — an unsurprising reaction of an anguished mother frantic to find her missing child.
Her 25-year-old son, Jordan Naterer — who lived for close to a decade in St. John’s — disappeared in British Columbia almost two weeks ago and his family is overwrought with worry.
“This is surreal. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare …,” Josie told The Telegram Thursday via a telephone conversation from Vancouver.
“We just want him home.”
Jordan — a Memorial University engineering alumni and recent graduate of University of British Columbia — was last seen leaving his Vancouver apartment on Oct. 10. It’s believed he set out for a solo hike on Frosty Mountain Trail in Manning Provincial Park, about two hours east of Vancouver, but he didn’t leave a trip plan. When he didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner with friends two days later, the search began.
“We got very scared because that’s not like Jordan to just not show up, or to call or text,” his mother said.
“We’ve just been so touched by all the support … All the conversation about us brings him closer to him.”
Jordan’s father, Greg Naterer, the dean of engineering at MUN, left right after the family got the call from the Vancouver Police Department, informing them of their son’s disappearance.
Josie initially stayed behind to gather as much background information as possible that might give them some clues to his whereabouts, including bank statements.
His bank card records indicated he had bought a cup of coffee at the Manning Park resort, giving the family verification where he was.
Jordan had purchased camping equipment and apparel some time before, which gave them such detailed information like the tread type on his boots.
“They were little pockets of information we needed,” said Josie, who said Jordan is an intermediate winter hiker who likely lost his bearings after a snowfall in the area.
Thanks to information obtained from the resort’s back-road camping application, they knew his tent was orange.
Josie had taken a photo of Jordan’s licence plate just months before for parking records when she had helped Jordan move into his apartment from UBC residence. His car was found Oct. 14 at the base of Frosty Mountain.
The following day, Josie flew to Vancouver to join her husband in the search efforts.
For five straight days, search-and-rescue teams from several parts of the province spent hours scouring the area by air and on foot. Several volunteers also helped out.
However, on Oct. 17, authorities decided to suspend the search, stating they had exhausted all avenues for searching.
“It was just like we ran into a brick wall,” she said. “We couldn’t believe it … But we had no real solid evidence he was there.”
They begged the Vancouver Police Department to keep looking, as a bag, a hat and pair of Oakley sunglasses, believed to be his, were spotted earlier this week, giving them a ray of hope.
“I tore everything apart (in which apartment) and I knew they were his,” Josie said.
Pieces of down material, used in pillow fillers, were also spotted in the park. It was similar material Jordan used to make crafts and found at his apartment, according to his father.
On her Twitter account Wednesday, one of Jordan’s two sisters, Julia Naterer, called on the Vancouver Police Department to “please restart the search to help us find my brother.” She tagged MUN president Vianne Timmons, St. John's South-Mount Pearl MP Seamus O’Regan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The family launched its own private search earlier this week, hired a drone company and paid for a helicopter to search.
Julia also set up a Go Fund Me page, “Help me find my missing brother,” to help pay for the search to cover the costs of a $1,500-an-hour helicopter, vehicle rentals, gas food and accommodations for search members.
Search-and-rescue teams from three different districts near Vancouver resumed the search Thursday
To all who volunteered to help find our missing son Jordan, your support and offers to help are deeply appreciated - if you're in the Vancouver area, and want to help by hiking, dogs or other specialized skills, I'll share search & rescue updates / needs here through my Twitter. pic.twitter.com/v7SomJMC5P— Greg Naterer (@GregNaterer) October 22, 2020
When contacted by The Telegram, Const. Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department confirmed searchers were back onsite due to “a safe weather window.”
“Searchers are using a drone to re-search specific areas that have already been searched,” she said.
The investigation is active and a dedicated tip line for leads on Jordan’s disappearance has been set up — 604-717-2530.
Josie broke down crying when she spoke about the support the family has received from across the country and from St. John’s, where the family has lived for the past eight years. She thanked their neighbours, colleagues and friends of Jordan, who graduated high school at Holy Heart of Mary, obtained his engineering degree at MUN three years ago before moving to Vancouver 2 ½ years ago to pursue his master’s degree.
New clue of synthetic down, 4-5 days old, material used in pillow fillers and by Jordan to make crafts, found by tracker near Monument 78/83 crossover, rarely hiked area, outside SAR areas checked - please @VancouverPD restart search as snowstorm and freezing temperatures coming! pic.twitter.com/q6e9Dnqcvd— Greg Naterer (@GregNaterer) October 21, 2020
“We’ve just been so touched by all the support …,” she said. “All the conversation about us brings him closer to him.”
Greg Naterer Tweeted Thursday, “To all who volunteered to help find our missing son Jordan, your support and offers to help are deeply appreciated.”
The family is holding out hope they’ll find him, but are growing more desperate as snow and freezing temperatures are expected Friday in the area.
“You have to hold out hope,” Josie said. “It’s your child.”