Community relieved Chretien found
Oct 1, 2012 / 5:00 pm
In the Penticton community Albert Chretien lived in for many years, he was known as a hard worker and a nice guy,
So news the missing man's body had been found this weekend in a remote corner of Nevada, was greeted with a mix of happiness, sadness and relief.
"I feel sad because he was such a good person," said Albert Cronie, a longtime neighbour. "But it is also a good feeling that his wife Rita will have some closure now."
Chretien's body was discovered by local hunters, Saturday on Merritt Mountain in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near the Nevada-Idaho border.
He and Rita, owners of an excavating business in Penticton, were on their way to a trade show in Las Vegas In March of 2011, when they left the highway and ended up on a remote forest road.
On March 22, three days after the couple's van got stuck on a muddy road, he walked away in an effort to get help and his whereabouts were unknown until now.
Rita was found alive seven weeks later.
A memorial service held in April helped ease the family's pain somewhat. Now this chapter in their lives is over.
Family members and the pastor of their church, Penticton Church of the Nazarene, declined to comment Monday.
Instead, they will provide a statement at a press conference at 10 a.m., Tuesday at the Penticton RCMP Detachment.
For most of the day there was little activity at the family home on the south end of town.
Neighbour Jill Cronie said hearing the news brought her relief because the family are good people who didn't deserve this.
He was just such a wonderful person, the type who would get up early to plough people's driveways when it snowed," she said. "So I am very happy for Rita and her family."
Angela, a neighbour who declined to give her last name, said it solves the mystery of what happened to him.
"You always wonder where did he go and what happened to him, did he suffer," she said. "There is guilt attached to being a survivor, so this will bring her peace of mind."
At the couple's church, where the phone rang off the hook all morning, secretary Debbie Jacyna said she initially wasn't sure if the news was true or not.
"At first I was skeptical," she said. "But I know Rita and I am happy for her."
At this point the church does not have anything planned for the family, she said.
In the building community, where Chretien was much respected, the news of the discovery spread quickly.
"It is a real blessing, fantastic news that they found his body," said Wade Wagstaff, a local contractor. "Now that the family knows his remains have been found, they can put the matter to rest."
Area politicians who followed the story closely and provided comfort to the family during the difficult year, said they too were glad to see closure.
"I am happy for the family on behalf of all the citizens of Penticton," said Mayor Dan Ashton. "Because when you don't have the person, you are still lost."
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