A British Columbia mother is begging Albertans for help after her missing son was spotted in Banff, Calgary and Edmonton.
William “Willy” Lynskey was last seen April 11, 2017, in Vancouver. He was six weeks away from completing a computer programming course at BCIT. Then his mother, Heather Lynskey, received a phone call from Willy’s brother that the 21-year-old didn’t come home.
Surveillance video showed that he took a Greyhound bus to Edmonton, and checked in at the Century Resort and Casino on April 12. On April 14 his cellphone pinged in Calgary. According to Lynskey, it was the last time it was ever used.
“It would appear my son is completely off the grid, so we are totally reliant on tips coming into the police.”
For police in Vancouver, the phone being pinged was enough to determine Willy was safe and their file was closed. Whistler RCMP continue to investigate his disappearance.
Earlier this month, the Facebook page set up to receive tips learned that someone had found Willy’s ID at Cascade Mall in Banff, Alta. Lynskey immediately flew to Alberta and learned that employees from the Food Resource Centre had spoken to Willy around Sept. 7, 2017.
“He did need help and he was in poor condition,” Lynskey said. “So our minds are going to a million places as to how he could have gotten to that state or what has happened to him.
“If it was my son, he desperately needs help.”
Lynskey says her son showed no signs of mental illness before he went missing, but they now believe that he was suffering from depression – possibly as a result of stress from school. Even still, Lynskey described her son as “jovial, telling stories and talking and communicating” with family members before he went missing.
LISTEN BELOW: Heather Lynskey shares her story with 630 CHED
Also confusing for the family is the fact that Willy didn’t empty his bank account before leaving B.C. Lynskey said he moved some money around, but didn’t take everything. No one has accessed, or tried to access, his bank account since he left.
Willy’s family is focusing their efforts on a Facebook page they set up to receive tips. As of 1:30 Monday afternoon, the group had 371 members, many active with daily posts. Lynskey herself follows up on possible sightings and continues to encourage people to share photos of her son in an effort to bring him home.
“He’s a very, very caring young man. Very sensitive and very shy,” she said. “In circumstances with people he didn’t know he was very quiet. With someone he does know and is comfortable with he was very gregarious and talkative and silly and humorous.”
RCMP describe Willy as six foot two inches tall, with brown hair and hazel eyes. When he went missing he weighed about 250 pounds and had short hair and a full beard. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3044. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
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