On Oct. 9, 2017, Spences Bridge resident Luke Neville, aged 48, disappeared. His 2003 white Ford E-250 van was later found, burned, on a forest service road about 20 kilometres outside Spences Bridge, but Luke has not been seen since.
Now his brother Mark is asking that anyone with information about Luke’s disappearance and/or whereabouts come forward. To remind people of his brother, he has had a large billboard erected beside Highway 1 in Spences Bridge, with the words “Help my family find me”, a picture of Luke, and an appeal for information.
“We’re not getting a lot of information from the police,” Mark, who has travelled to Spences Bridge to erect the billboard, tells The Journal. “We don’t know what happened. There are rumours, but when we ask the police they say ‘We’re working on it.’”
One of four brothers, Luke was born in Montreal, and like his three siblings became a firefighter. He moved to Ottawa, but got tired of the weather there, says Mark, and wanted a change, so he moved to the Penticton area in 2005. In 2006 he moved to Spences Bridge, where he worked at The Packing House for a time, had a pizza oven business, and then started a home renovation business.
“As far as I know he liked it there,” says Mark. “He liked the weather there. And he loved dogs.”
Luke—who was unmarried and had no children—was three weeks short of his 49th birthday when he was reported missing by his roommate. He was last seen at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2017, and police confirmed that his body was not in his burned-out van.
Mark says that there are plans to have a drone come in to go over the area and see if any signs of Luke can be found. “There’s a remote chance we can find him with a drone, even if we have to kick over every stone.
“And someone doesn’t go missing in a town of 150 people and no one knows anything about it. The billboard is there to keep attention on Luke, and on the case. If anyone knows anything, however small, we want them to talk to police. We hope someone can tell us which stone to kick over.
“If I do nothing, if I just sit on my hands, he won’t just pop up. The police are doing all they can, but the case has bogged down a bit. It won’t move forward without new information. We need someone to give some information.”
Mark says that his brother was well-liked in the community. “When I went there after he disappeared, one fellow said to me ‘Part of me died when he went missing.’ He liked to help people; I kept hearing that. When I went there, people were crying, and saying to me that they were so sorry. People are confused; no one knows what happened.”
On Oct. 9, 2018, Luke’s family held a Celebration of Life for him. “It gave some semblance of closure, but didn’t give us the closure we hoped for,” says Mark. “I think about him every single day. There won’t be closure until we find him, recover his body.
“We just want him found; we want his remains so that we can bring him home before our mother dies. She’s 84, and asks every day if there’s any news. We all keep an eye on her.”
Mark has one thing to say to anyone who has information about Luke’s disappearance. “Tell us where he is. I just want to find him.”
Anyone with information about Luke Neville’s disappearance is asked to contact Lytton RCMP at (250) 455-2225. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).