Mother of man who disappeared in Dawson Creek pleads for answers

Written By Rob Shaw

When Cole Hosack went missing from a nightclub in Dawson Creek on New Year’s Eve, his mother, Julie, thought authorities would pull out all the stops to investigate his disappearance. But more than two months later, with virtual silence from the police, few in-person searches, and barely any tips from the community, she’s worried her 24-year-old son has been forgotten.

“My worst fear is going to be going 30 years without knowing where he is,” Hosack said. “The torture, the torment, every day. You wake up and it’s groundhog day, because I’m still living that day, January 1.”

Cole is one of four people who’ve gone missing in Dawson Creek in the last 18 months. That, along with several suspected murders, and an ongoing crime wave, have rocked the small northern city.

“The rate of everyone missing has everyone scared and nobody wanted to help.”

Julie Hosack

RCMP are tight-lipped. In the absence of any information, the rumour mill and social media are afire with speculation about gang violence, drug deals and more.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a statement he “cannot imagine the heartache that [it] must entail” to lose a loved one, and that he has heard from Dawson Creek community leaders firsthand.

“My ministry is engaged with RCMP leadership on the violence win Dawson Creek. The RCMP have surged resources into the areas to address these issues,” he said.

‘It’s the fear factor’

“When you see things like this happening a lot of people think of bigger cities, not a small remote town like Dawson Creek, so to have anyone missing or murdered is a shock, but to see the numbers we’ve seen recently is astonishing,” said Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South.

“It’s the fear factor. When we are seeing unprecedented crime levels right now, and people are thinking, ‘I don’t want to get involved.’”

“[With] unprecedented crime levels … people are thinking, ‘I don’t want to get involved.’”

Mike Bernier

Hosack has seen it first-hand. Occasionally she’ll get a message online from someone who quickly deletes it, in an attempt to remain anonymous.

“At the beginning, people didn’t want to have anything to do with it because the crime rate in Dawson, and the rate of everyone missing, has everyone scared and nobody wanted to help,” she said.

24-year-old disappears New Years Eve

Cole wasn’t even from Dawson Creek. He was on his way from Prince George to Medicine Hat for a new job, and stopped in the city for a couple of days with a friend. They went to the Lonestar Bar for New Year’s Eve. 

There was some sort of fight on the dance floor, and later a verbal altercation in the parking lot while Cole was having a smoke, said Hosack. Cole’s friend drove a person home after midnight, and when she returned to the bar a short time later, Cole wasn’t there. He hasn’t been seen since.

Cole Hosack with his son. [Photo Julie Hosack]

Dawson Creek RCMP have put out two press releases asking for public help, but there was no official search organized. Hosack said she didn’t hear from police for more than two weeks, despite repeated calls.

“I’m not saying they are not doing their job,” she said, in a telephone interview from her home in Calgary. “All I’m looking for is communication. I have no one else who can help me.”

Region rocked by suspicious deaths

The sheer scope of crime, disappearances and suspicious deaths has stunned the region, said Bernier.

Three other people are missing: Darylyn Supernant, 29, since March 15, 2023; Renee Didier, 40, since Dec. 2, 2023; and Dave Daniel Domingo, 24, since Aug. 29, 2023.

RCMP temporarily bolstered its presence late last year after a spike in shootings. Earlier last year, local officials warned about a citizen group that mobilized to combat rampant property crime in the absence of police.

Bernier has taken the issue to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth and Attorney General Niki Sharma, but any assistance has been short-lived.

“It’s not just the government, it’s everybody, and I don’t want to politicize it because it’s not the NDP per se,” said Bernier. “This is an issue of our community of citizens, everybody needs to come together on these issues. Somebody knows something and we’re pleading with people to come out with that information.”

Dawson Creek RCMP declined to comment, saying only that “these investigations are active and ongoing” — which critics say is exactly the problem.

The police force did put out a statement March 1 about the involvement of the North District Major Crime unit in the region, though it adds very little.

“These investigations are often very complex and may appear to move slowly however, I can assure you that they remain active as we continue to follow up on all tips, or new information that becomes available,” read the statement by Cpl. Madonna Saunderson.

That does not appear to be good enough.

Unsolved murders, missing persons

Hosack said she’s travelling back and forth to the city herself to keep her son’s investigation active, and has most recently started a decal campaign.

When, five days after he went missing, his phone suddenly popped up on her ‘Find My Phone’ app, she flagged it for police. They went and found a man with Cole’s phone less than a block from the nightclub, she said. But she’s still in the dark about who the man was or what happened.

“I think they are having a hard time,” Hosack said of police. 

“They are not batting a very good average and I’m supposed to have faith in these guys.”

Julie Hosack

“In 2023, seven murders unsolved, four people have gone missing and you haven’t found one. At what point do you send someone else? They are not batting a very good average and I’m supposed to have faith in these guys.

“The police need to be held accountable because I think they have a responsibility to us as the families of these missing people.”

Anyone with information is asked to reach out via the Missing: Cole Hosack Facebook page and local RCMP.