The mother of a Whitehorse man found dead in northern British Columbia this September is appealing for anyone who may have seen him in the days before his body was discovered to come forward.
Travis McDiarmid, 33, was found dead south of Haines Junction on the British Columbia side of the border Sept. 29.
The BC Coroners Service, with the assistance of Atlin RCMP, is investigating.
Officers from the Haines Junction RCMP detachment were the ones who located McDiarmid’s body, but the case is in Atlin RCMP’s jurisdiction since it was in British Columbia.
Authorities were unable to provide the News a more exact location of where McDiarmid was found, but his mother, Cheryl Munn, said in an interview Oct. 26 that police told her he was found on a trail about 1.7 kilometres from the trailhead. She did not know the name of the trail.
McDiarmid, according to Munn, had been hiking in the area with a friend, but at some point they had parted ways; his death certificate says he died on Sept. 26.
Munn, who lives in Nanaimo, B.C., said she was never contacted by authorities but was instead informed of her son’s death by one of his friends; she’s been trying to fill in the gaps about what happened ever since.
The BC Coroners Service declined to comment about any initial findings citing its ongoing investigation, but Munn said she was told by the coroner who performed McDiarmid’s autopsy that he likely died from hypothermia, although toxicology results are still pending.
Munn said she found that odd because McDiarmid was an experienced outdoorsman who spent a lot of time on the land and had camped in winter conditions before.
“He was very self-sufficient in the bush… That’s why I find it so hard to believe he died that way,” she said.
McDiarmid lived with addiction, Munn said, explaining that she was worried his case may be taken less seriously because of that. But even if nothing suspicious happened, she said she wanted to know if anyone had seen McDiarmid on the trail before he died, or had spoken to him about his plans before he left Whitehorse.
“I would be interested in seeing if anyone would come forward. Maybe if he was still alive later than Saturday, maybe somebody came across him on the trail … Maybe somebody would remember, ‘Oh yeah, I saw this big six-foot-two tattooed guy on the trail,’” she said.
“… I’m hoping the truth will come out, whatever that is, that’s how I honestly feel.”
Munn remembered her son as being “so kind,” a “voracious reader” who loved travelling and being in nature. He sat on Blood Ties Four Directions’ board of directors and also lived in the organization’s Steve Cardiff Tiny House Community in downtown Whitehorse.
Blood Ties executive director Brontë Renwick-Shields confirmed that McDiarmid was a member of the tiny home community but declined further comment, citing privacy issues.
McDiarmid had spoken to the News in March about living in the tiny home community, saying it had “opened doors” for him.
“It’s wonderful, running water, electricity,” he said at the time. “You don’t have to worry about your woodstove and can concentrate on other things in life like schooling.”
With files from Julien Gignac
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org