ELKO — The remains of a Canadian man who went missing along with his wife in March 2011 were discovered over the weekend by a pair of local hunters.
Rodney Thompson and Jay Doke contacted the Elko County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday afternoon regarding the human remains they found in a heavily wooded area of Merritt Mountain in northern Elko County.
Early Sunday morning, searchers from the Elko County Sheriff’s Office met with the pair, who led them to the area. The team continued to search for all possible evidence or property, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. After completing the search and processing the scene, the remains were collected and transported to Burns Funeral Home.
Searchers located items in a pocket of the clothing that led to the positive identification of Albert Chretien.
Chretien and his wife Rita became stranded in northern Elko County while traveling from their home in British Columbia to a trade show in Las Vegas. Rita Chretien spent 48 days in their vehicle before being rescued on May 6.
Her 59-year-old husband left their vehicle to walk back to State Route 225 in search of help getting their vehicle unstuck.
Rita Chretien, who was 56 at the time, was on the verge of starvation when antler hunters riding ATVs spotted the couple’s van. She survived the nearly seven-week ordeal on trail mix, hard candy and melted snow.
She later described to members of the First Church of the Nazarene in Twin Falls, Idaho, how her faith sustained her through the cold weather with hardly any food.
She explained how they got lost because they were “foolishly following a GPS without a lot of experience.”
On March 22, three days after their van got stuck in the extremely remote area near the Idaho border, Albert Chretien set off on foot.
The sheriff’s office sent out teams of searchers on multiple occasions throughout the summer but were unable to locate any sign of her husband.
There was no information by press time regarding how far from the van’s location Albert Chretien’s remains were found.
A public memorial service was held for him on April 14 in their hometown of Penticton, B.C.