Hatchet Lake. Photo courtesy of Cameco.

Hope is fading for a 24-year-old Hatchet Lake man who has now been missing for almost three weeks.

Despite ground and air searches, there have been no signs of Jean Baptiste Tsannie. The chief of the Hatchet Lake Dene Nation has a close personal connection to the case. Bartholomew Tsannie is the cousin of Jean Baptiste Tsannie.

The missing man was last seen on October 12, and was reported missing seven days later. There have been two aerial searches since then  and numerous ground searches by community members and family. Sniffer dogs are being brought in today from Lloydminster.

Chief Tsannie says the weather is hampering search efforts.

“It has been snowing, and we almost have a foot of snow here,” he said. “It is difficult to search like that, and it is still snowing and winter is coming.”

Chief Tsannie describes his cousin as a bright young man, with excellent knowledge of the bush and lake, but he says Jean Baptiste also had his problems.

“You know, I can’t say what happened, he is a bright young boy, you know, but alcohol always plays a role in this kind of stuff, which is not good,” he said.

Chief Tsannie was critical of the RCMP efforts, saying they should be working more closely with the First Nation to try to find his cousin.