Case remains open but cash reward relating to Kitimat’s 1997 triple murder to be retired

The reward for information leading to the capture of fugitive Kevin Vermette will be retired at the end of the year.

An RCMP file photo of Kevin Vermette.

An RCMP file photo of Kevin Vermette.

The police search for Kitimat murder suspect Kevin Vermette continues, but the reward money for his capture is being retired at the end of the month.

That means if anyone has information that can lead authorities to Vermette’s whereabouts they only have about four weeks to collect the pot which is currently approximately $25,000.

Kevin Vermette was and remains the sole suspect in the grizzly triple murder which shook the community of Kitimat in July 1997.

Michael Mauro, David Nunes, and Mark Teves were killed and a fourth, Donny Oliveira, was seriously wounded in the confrontation in Hirsch Creek Park.

Hundreds of tips to police poured in after the incident however none led to the discovery of Vermette’s whereabouts. Vermette, at that time, was considered Canada’s most wanted criminal.

The reward for his capture was offered by a committee, chaired by Richard Wozney.

Wozney said it’s time to put the reward to rest.

“It’s been ongoing for more than 18 years,” he said, adding, “Maybe with this news dangling out there, there may be more tips that come forward.”

The reward closes after December 31 this month.

“The reward was a good idea and still is a good idea but at this point in time it hasn’t produced any results. At some point in time we have to bring it to an end.”

The reward was initially offered in early 1998 after the committee received donations from businesses and private individuals. It was initially $17,500 and rose with interest.

Wozney said some persons had requested unused reward money be returned while others said it should go to a local charitable group. The committee will seek to either return the money or donate the remainder to a local group.

Wozney said it is unfortunate that no arrest has been made so far on the file.

“It has to be upsetting to the family members. Every July 12 they must think about what happened on that day in 1997. It can’t be a happy day.”

Cpl. Chris Manseau of the Kitimat RCMP detachment says the file on that murder and the search for Vermette remains active and he said upwards of a dozen tips a year are still called in and all are followed up on. He said even re-runs of America’s Most Wanted, which once featured this case, still results in tips.

Yet for every tip so far it doesn’t appear to lead them any closer to his capture.

Anyone who has information that may possibly lead to finding Vermette is asked to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-222-8477. You can also call the Kitimat RCMP detachment at 250-632-7111.

One of Vermette’s identifying marks at the time of his disappearance was a tattoo on his upper right arm of a cat with the word “LUCKY” below. On his left arm he also had a coyote and a moon and a dagger through a rose.

He was 42 when he disappeared putting his age today at 60. He was described as a loner and an experienced outdoorsman.