Police call off search for missing woman in East Sooke Park

Sooke RCMP have called off the search for a 59-year-old woman who disappeared in East Sooke Park on Thursday.

“The search has been suspended for the time being,” said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Wright said this morning. “The whole park was covered. Every trail and off the trail was covered. Anywhere they could possibly think she may be has been searched extensively.”

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Dozens of search and rescue volunteers have been combing the park since Thursday night when Robin Penwarn, an East Sooke resident, failed to return home after going for a walk.

Her husband found her car, with her purse and cellphone left inside, in the parking lot at the Aylard Farm entrance. That sparked a massive three-day search that covered most of the trails in the park. A helicopter searched from the air and boats searched the shoreline.

Wright said he spent an hour with Penwarn’s grieving family Sunday night explaining why the search is being called off. He said they were very thankful for the massive effort that went in to finding her.

Wright said Juan de Fuca search and rescue volunteers took the search very personally, Wright said, since Penwarn spent over 10 years volunteering with the group. She also volunteered with the Juan de Fuca regional park watch society and the East Sooke fire department.

“The search master really took it hard that we had to suspend the search,” Wright said.

Wright gave his thanks to the volunteers who risked the dangerous and difficult terrain to find Penwarn.

“They were so exhausted and they were dejected but they were prepared to go out again today but there were no more areas for them to search. That speaks to their camaraderie and that she was part of their team for 10 years.”

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