Port Alberni man missing for nearly five years found, but says it’s not him

A man missing from Port Alberni since Oct. 2017 has been found but claims he’s not the missing man, according to Island Crime podcast host Laura Palmer.

Palmer’s podcast is centered around crime stories, missing people in particular, and is based on Vancouver Island.

Each season of the podcast dives into a new crime story about different missing persons. The show is currently in its fourth season.

In season two, Palmer’s focus was a man named Brandon Cairney, who went missing from Port Alberni nearly five years ago.

Picture of Brandon Cairney

(Courtesy: Laura Palmer)

Cairney suffered a brain injury as a young man and struggled as a result, but Palmer says his family never thought he would just take off without telling them.

However, when he vanished, the family feared he had come to harm, Palmer told CityNews.

Palmer received a tip on Friday that one of the missing persons she featured on her podcast had been found.

After some calling around to the families of the missing people, Palmer quickly discovered it was Brandon Cairney who had been found sleeping on a park bench in Burnaby, she says.

Cairney’s uncle, Mark Cairney, was the one on the phone that Palmer spoke with.

According to Palmer, Mark says that police took Brandon’s fingerprints after finding him on the bench, and they were able to confirm he was indeed the missing person.

However, Mark says that Brandon claims he is not Brandon Cairney, instead, is a U.S. citizen.

“He has apparently been living in the United States for much of the last five years, again, this is coming to me through his uncle. The only authority I was able to talk to on the weekend was the Burnaby RCMP. Because of confidentiality, all they would tell me is that they had picked up someone who had been missing and had spoken with the Port Alberni RCMP,” Palmer said.

“Without actually saying it to me, they confirmed it was who I was thinking it was. I have been in touch with his mother, father, and another family member who confirms that this is so.”

Palmer says the family is relieved he is alive, but they wonder if he had another brain injury, so they are trying to figure out what to do next while respecting him if this is his decision.

“They [the family] are grateful to know that he is alive and wanted to tell their story because they felt it might give some hope to other long-term missing [people] and their families, to know that this can happen,” Palmer said.

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Due to confidentially reasons, Burnaby RCMP could not confirm or deny the person’s identity.

Although, police did say they picked up a man who was missing from Port Alberni on Thursday.

Port Alberni RCMP confirmed to CityNews that Brandon Cairney was the man found late last week in Burnaby.

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