With the first anniversary of Bernard Grempel’s disappearance weeks away, his distraught family has increased the reward for information on his whereabouts to $30,000.
The 29-year-old, who also goes by Bernie, went missing on May 14, 2021, when data from his transit pass indicates he boarded a 340 bus outside the 22nd Street SkyTrain Station in New Westminster.
That’s the route he would normally take to visit his parents – but none of Grempel’s loved ones have seen him since, despite numerous false alarms.
“There have been countless sightings,” Grempel’s sister Ettie Shurack said Friday, explaining that people often think they’ve found her brother, but have instead spotted someone who looks like him.
“And, on one hand, it’s really discouraging. How could so many sightings – over a hundred – how could none of them pan out? But on the other hand, it’s encouraging that my brother is still on people’s minds and people are searching and hopeful.”
The family initially offered $10,000 for help finding Grempel, then $20,000. This week, as they grow increasingly desperate for leads, they upped the reward once more.
“If the reward is what will bring someone to bring information forward, we feel that it’s our responsibility to do that,” Shurack said.
The family previously expressed frustration with a perceived lack of urgency among the Surrey RCMP investigating Grempel’s disappearance, something authorities denied. The RCMP said they followed every available lead, and checked homeless shelters for possible sightings.
The family did end up personally canvassing for surveillance video along the 340 bus route, and gathering information on Grempel’s Google Map account and his bank activity.
When they initially announced their missing person investigation, Surrey RCMP said a warrant had been issued for Grempel for his “apprehension and return to hospital.”
Given Grempel’s mental health issues, the family said the initial assumption from investigators was that he may have taken his own life – a theory his loved ones have never accepted.
“Nothing stands out differently about that day,” Shurack said. “My mother and I, we talk about that day all the time and we try to pinpoint, like, where can we look for more details? What have we missed about that day? And there’s not a single difference.”
Grempel is described as a six-foot-tall white man with brown eyes and curly brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded jacket, red sweatpants and black Nike shoes.
The family asked that anyone with information on Grempel’s disappearance contact them immediately at 778-838-5095.