Remains of Madison Scott found 12 years after mysterious disappearance from party near Vanderhoof, B.C.

Scott was aged 20 when she went missing in May 2011. (Help Find Madison Scott - image credit)
Scott was aged 20 when she went missing in May 2011. (Help Find Madison Scott - image credit)

RCMP say they've found the remains of Madison (Maddy) Scott, 12 years after she went missing.

Scott was last seen on May 28, 2011, while celebrating a friend's birthday at a campsite at Hogsback Lake, about 25 kilometres southeast of her hometown of Vanderhoof, B.C.

She was 20 at the time.

Police say the identity of the remains have been confirmed by the B.C. Coroners Service and RCMP are currently executing a warrant at a rural property on the east side of Vanderhoof, around 80 kilometres west of Prince George.

"The area has been secured, and additional resources are anticipated to be on scene for as long as may be required," said Cpl. Madonna Saunderson in a statement.

Scott's family was notified on Sunday, and police say they are asking for privacy. Saunderson said Scott's body was found "days ago" but didn't specify exactly when it was found.

Neither did Saunderson say whether the information leading to Scott's discovery came from new information provided by the public.

She said the possibility of foul play has still not been ruled out, but no arrests have been made.

"This has been a priority investigation for the RCMP over the past 12 years," she said in the statement.

"The discovery of Maddy is a significant development [but] this investigation remains an active and ongoing missing person's investigation."

Saunderson said she wasn't aware of any danger to the public related to the discovery of Scott's remains.

High-profile case

Scott's disappearance maintained a high profile, with billboards and posters asking for tips about her disappearance still a common sight in Vanderhoof and neighbouring communities, including Prince George.

Her family has offered a $100,000 award for information resulting in arrests related to her disappearance, and her story has been the subject of multiple investigative media reports in Canada and internationally.

The last known sighting of her was around 3 a.m. PT on May 28, 2011.

She disappeared with her iPhone and the keys to her pickup truck, leaving her tent and the vehicle behind.

Betsy Trumpener/CBC
Betsy Trumpener/CBC

Family and police said it was unusual for her not to be in touch, leading investigators to believe foul play was involved.

Extensive ground, air and water searches were carried out to no avail, and family and friends have kept the hope of her discovery alive through a Facebook page and an annual search of the area where she was last seen.

In a video statement released in 2021, her mother described her as "wonderful, messy, creative, loving," while a hockey teammate remembered her as a photography enthusiast.

In its statement Sunday, on the 12th anniversary of Scott's disappearance, the RCMP said Scott loved to immerse herself in family, friends and sports.

"This year, Madison would be 32 years old. She would likely be immersed in her career and may even have gotten married and had children."

'Everybody knew Madison': mayor

Gerry Thiessen, the mayor of Vanderhoof from 2008 to 2014, describes Scott as a "vibrant part" of the central B.C. district municipality of more than 4,346 people and says, in the beginning, everyone hoped she'd be found alive.

"Twelve years ago, there was just such hope that Madison would be found…[and she] would come back and make the family whole again," Thiessen said.

Current mayor Kevin Moutray says Scott's disappearance shocked the community.

"Everybody knew Madison [as] a sister, a daughter, a friend … somebody knew her in some way, and you have all that connection," he said.

Moutray says he hopes the discovery will lead to a resolution in the RCMP's investigation of Scott's death, but in the meantime, he hopes it can help her family begin to heal.

"It's going to be a long journey for them, and hopefully, as a community, we can be there for them and provide them the support they need to go through this."