With no significant leads, family of missing Calgary man is asking public for help

Marshal Iwaasa's loved ones trying to piece together a timeline of his disappearance

It's been almost exactly two months since Marshal Iwaasa was last seen by family in Lethbridge, Alta. Since then, the only sign of the 26-year-old Calgary man was his charred pickup truck and some scattered personal belongings, found more than 1,000 kilometres away in the Pemberton backcountry.

The past eight weeks have understandably been excruciating for Iwaasa's family. They have wracked their brains trying to piece together the timeline of Iwaasa's disappearance, searching in vain for something—anything—that would bring them closer to finding him.

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"As a family, we're still trying to brainstorm and trying to find out what information might be out there and what information we can [use to] leverage the public," said Iwaasa's sister, Paige Fogen. "We're just really looking for anything right now because we don't have anything specific to go off of."

Iwaasa's truck was found near the Brian Waddington Hut on Nov. 24 by a group of hikers, one of whom compared the site, which was littered with Iwaasa's personal ID, some clothes, three smashed cellphones and a destroyed laptop, to "a crime scene" that had "a very eerie feeling."

For Fogen and her family, the scene only leads to more questions. If Iwaasa was trying to disappear, why would he leave his ID so readily behind? Similarly, if someone stole the truck—or worse—and chose to burn it, then why not Iwaasa's personal belongings along with it?

While investigators have said there is nothing to suggest foul play, Fogen can't help but feel the circumstances are suspicious.

"The scene doesn't make sense," she said. "That's why it's so hard. Other than Marshal's items being found, we haven't seen anything that would make me really confident to say, "Yeah, for sure, he was there with his truck.' His truck could have been stolen, his items could have been in it."

The family also wonders how Iwaasa may have found himself on a relatively remote trail in the Pemberton backcountry. Although he was known to hike with friends in Alberta, Fogen said her brother had never been to the area nor had she heard him express interest in going there.

Now, the family is looking for anyone who may have been on the Phelix Creek Trail and Phelix Creek Forest Service Road leading to the hut between Nov. 18 and when Iwaasa's charred truck was found on Nov. 24 to come forward.

They've also extended their search beyond B.C. and Alberta in the hopes that someone might have noticed a sign of Iwaasa on their holiday travels.

"We're now pushing into Saskatchewan and Manitoba and, really, anywhere in Canada," Fogen said. "People travel and people are all over for the holidays and may have seen something and I'm just really worried about the amount of time that's now passed."

Given the nature of the terrain and the popularity of backcountry recreation here, Whistler and Pemberton RCMP are no strangers to missing persons' cases.

Last year, 136 people were reported missing, and Iwaasa's is the only case that has yet to be resolved.

In early December, the RCMP called off the search, and the file was turned over to the Lethbridge Police Service (LPS), although multiple departments continue to work on the case. A call to the LPS seeking updates on the case was not returned by press time, but Sgt. Saska Vanhala told media in late December that investigators have ruled out several possible sightings of Iwaasa and leads on his location.

Anyone with info about Iwaasa's disappearance, or his movements since Nov. 17, is asked to call the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234, or the LPS at 403-328-4444.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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