The family of a missing man from Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., is struggling to understand what happened when he and two other travellers left on a snowmobile trip and were never heard from again.
RCMP say 28-year-old Jake Gully, Cammy Boucher, 23, and her father, Samuel Boucher, 65, left Detah, N.W.T., on a two-seater snowmobile towing two toboggans the night of May 13. It's believed they were heading to Lutselk'e.
After a lengthy air search, the body of Samuel Boucher and some debris was recovered from a large area of open water last Monday. RCMP say they believe the others "suffered the same fate."
"It's painful knowing [Jake] was with them. It's painful right now," said Gully's aunt, Camilla Rabisca, from Fort Good Hope. She said the family only learned Gully was unaccounted for "a couple of days" after the news broke about the missing travellers.
"All kinds of rumours going through," said Rabisca.
She said the family is still hoping and praying he will be found.
"It's painful for the mother. All of us. The whole community is affected by this," she said.
Rabisca said Gully is an only child. He grew up in Fort Good Hope, often spending time with his grandparents on the land. She said he moved to Yellowknife for work.
"It's painful for the mother. All of us. The whole community is affected by this." - Camilla Rabisca
"He was really kind, a gentle boy," she said. "Everybody liked him."
Fort Good Hope Chief Wilfred McNeely described Gully as determined — a young man who never gave up "trying to do good for himself."
McNeely said the whole community has moved into support mode while the family waits for news.
"To lose people, especially young ones, it's shocking," he said.
McNeely said the community has raised more than $1,000 through game nights to help support the Gully family.
"We try and take a little bit of their problems away by helping them that way," he said, adding they plan to do the same for the Boucher family in Lutselk'e.
In a news release this week, RCMP said the investigation remains open as a missing persons case for Gully and Cammy Boucher. Police continue to warn people to stay off the ice and water.
Camilla Rabisca said it's hard being so far from the search.
"I'm so thankful for everybody that's supporting my sister and the family," she said. "We're just being hopeful and praying."