The family of Darwin Greyeyes says they are relieved to find some closure after the Nelson artist’s remains were discovered nearly four years after he went missing.
The Nelson Police Department said in a release Monday that Greyeyes’ body was found in the West Arm Provincial Park northeast of Nelson. DNA testing identified Greyeyes, and police added foul play is not suspected.
Debbie Cameron, Greyeyes’ sister, told the Nelson Star on Tuesday the wait for news had been the longest four years of her life.
“I’m relieved to finally get an answer, because we have held out hope, each in our own way, that maybe he just wanted to be left alone and he was somewhere,” said Cameron from her home in Saskatchewan on the Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree First Nation reserve.
“And we respected that if that was his wish. But a small part of us also knew deep down that we were not going to get the answer we wanted.”
Greyeyes was known in Nelson as a talented carpenter and artist who took inspiration from his Plains Cree heritage. His work stood out at Selkirk College’s Kootenay Studio Arts while he was enrolled in the blacksmithing program, and resonated in the community.
But he also suffered from anxiety and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2014. Friends noticed his mental health decline shortly before his disappearance.
Darrell Greyeyes, his older brother, said he grew up hunting with Darwin and for a time hoped he was living on his own in the forest.
“I was hurt to find out that he had actually passed away,” said Darrell. “But for me at the same time I’m kind of glad that we’re going to have some closure to what happened. Four years is a long time for him to have laid out in the wilderness.”
Cameron praised the work of the Nelson Police Department and investigating officer Sgt. Dan Markevich, who she said never gave up on his search for Greyeyes.
She also had kind words for community members, who she said supported her family even though she’d never met them before her brother’s disappearance.
“Such beautiful people,” she said. “That’s what I got out of this. And he was loved and people truly missed him.”
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