The family and friends of Gavin Deloes are worried for his safety after the 41-year-old walked out of the Royal Columbian Hospital early Sunday morning in a hospital gown, and hasn’t been seen since.
Police are investigating the man’s disappearance and seeking help from Coquitlam Search and Rescue volunteers.
Hilma Deloes fears for her son, who she said was hurt when his Jeep crashed Friday in Coquitlam, B.C., and was showing signs of confusion.
The Burnaby man walked out of hospital with no identification, money or phone, toting an iPod and a bag of toiletries his mother had dropped off, and wearing a hospital gown. He wore a pair of black slip-on sandals.
After reviewing security footage, hospital staff told family that Deloes was last seen walking north up Columbia Street. Then, nothing.
“He has completely vanished off the face of the planet,” said Deloes’ brother-in-law, Quinn Jarvis.
Friends and family said that Deloes, an employee of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, was the driver in a crash on North Road in Coquitlam on May 22 around 8:30 a.m. PT after leaving his girlfriend’s home.
It’s unclear what caused the accident that sent Deloes to the emergency room, where family did see him on Friday before he was moved to a ward they were not allowed to visit, due to COVID-19 concerns.
New Westminster Police Sgt. Jeff Scott says investigators are checking security footage near the hospital and urging anybody who sees the man with a scar between his eyes to call 911.
“He’s wearing a blue hospital gown and slippers so we are concerned for his well-being,” said Scott, who confirmed that Deloes had been in a traffic accident.
“His family is extremely worried for him,” said Scott.
Longtime friend Dylan Stewart, 41, said he was talking to Deloes on the phone — via a hands-free Bluetooth device — when the car crash happened.
They had been discussing a cake — a raspberry pound cake that Deloes’ mother had baked the pair since they were teens after they both “feasted” on a cake she’d set aside for a bake sale, not knowing it was off-limits.
Then, the impact, and the aftermath.
“We think he had a seizure. We were talking normally and all of a sudden … he was just normal Gavin, happy, chipper, ready to pick up this cake, and then there was no sound and then I heard the crazy sound and accident sounds,” said Stewart.
“I felt very helpless,” said Stewart.
Stewart said that he rushed to the accident scene and then to the hospital where he was able to see Deloes in the emergency room, before going to his parents’ home to tell them what happened. He said his friend had a head injury, fractured bones, including vertebrae, ribs and his knee.
Hilma Deloes said she saw her son in the emergency room on Friday at around 11 a.m., and despite injuries, he was able to talk. She arranged to take his belongings, including his identification and clothes, and provided the iPod so he could FaceTime with family, while he recovered, as his phone had been seized by police at the accident scene.
On Saturday she said she picked up his work boots and other items from his damaged Jeep at Coquitlam Towing. That night she returned to Royal Columbian Hospital to bring him clothes.
She found her son pacing outside.
“When I got to the entrance of the hospital he was out there with two RNs [registered nurses] and security guards were hovering around him. He was talking, but he wasn’t making sense to me,” said Hilma Deloes, herself retired after 25 years at Royal Columbian Hospital.
She says she helped convince her son to return to his room in the orthopaedic ward, and requested he be seen by a social worker, as he seemed confused and “paranoid.” She left with his shoes and clothes, and the hope he’d listen to medical advice.
“This is not my son here. This is not like him at all,” said Hilma Deloes.
She said she parked nearby to ensure he didn’t leave again.
Sunday morning she said she called around 9 a.m.and learned that her son had been discharged. At first, friends thought he just walked to his girlfriend’s home nearby, but he never turned up.
The Fraser Health Authority spokesperson said it cannot respond to questions about Deloes’ case, due to privacy laws.