Family of missing southern Alberta man pushing for 'different kind of investigation'
CALGARY -- The sister of Marshal Iwaasa said she is more convinced than ever that her brother’s disappearance was criminal in nature, after visiting the remote area where his burned-out truck was found.
Paige Fogen and other family members travelled to the site north of Pemberton B.C. July 3, and returned to Lethbridge Monday.
“We are just getting more information to say he wasn’t there by himself, or probably wasn’t there by choice, or he might not have been there ever,” said Fogen.
Iwaasa was 26 years old when he was last seen in Lethbridge November 17, 2019. His burned-out truck was found about a week later, at the end of a rugged trail surrounded by forest.
Fogen said the location is so remote, and the trail so rough, she simply can’t believe Iwaasa would end up there on his own.
“It made me feel like he never drove his truck there at all or he didn't drive there by choice,” said Fogen, who said there were lots of spots where she thought they were going to get stuck or bottom out.
“Marshal wasn't the kind of person to take his vehicle and just destroy it to get to this point of essentially no return.”
Paige said the family was driven to the site by members of an off-road group called 4LOW BC. She said they pointed out some odd circumstances, including extra vehicle parts found in the area, and signs that some pieces of Iwaasa's truck were missing. Based on the wreckage, it appeared the parts may have been removed before the vehicle was burned.
Fogen said there were other troubling signs, including a PlayStation and Xbox previously thought to be Iwaasa’s that were found near the truck. “I went to clean out his apartment and his things were there. His PlayStation and Xbox systems were there. So I am not sure whose those were at the scene.”
A week before Fogen’s trip Lethbridge Police and RCMP conducted an exhaustive search of the area. Paige said Iwaasa’s family is still waiting for information on their findings, including a report from a fire investigator who examined the vehicle.
The search, that included dogs, drones, and a helicopter, did not locate Iwaasa’s body. Fogen said she is anxious to know what police plan to do next. “Because for me, just saying that he chose to do this, or went up for a hike, none of those make sense at this point, and that’s not an okay answer for us.”
Lethbridge Police have not yet provided an update on the search. The case was originally handled by Pemberton RCMP but turned over to the Lethbridge Police Service last December.