Consumer and Job Preparation student found after 80-hour search
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Early last month, Joy Zhang, 21, was found after going missing on August 2 at Sasamat Lake. Led by Coquitlam Search and Rescue, the search for Zhang saw over 120 investigators and volunteers scanning Sasamat Lake and the surrounding area for 80 hours. Zhang’s friend and fellow CJP graduate, Judy, was also reported missing, but was found hours later.
“The entire Douglas College community is thankful, relieved, and absolutely elated to hear the news that Joy Zhang has been found,” spoke Douglas President Scott McAlpine in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Douglas College community, I want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of so many professionals and dedicated volunteers who were led by Coquitlam Search and Rescue and the Port Moody Police Department… They were incredibly professional, they worked tirelessly and they never gave up hope of finding Joy.”
Zhang is a graduate of the Douglas College Consumer and Job Preparation program (CJP), a 12-month set of courses which helps “build life, social, and job-related skills for students with developmental disabilities.”
The Coquitlam SAR crew were especially thankful to both Judy and Constable Angela Fisher—the latter who built a relationship with Judy and helped confirm to the investigating team where Judy and Zhang were separated. The two students went missing on while on a picnic with fellow classmates and program facilitators at Sasamat Lake’s White Pine Beach to celebrate their completion of the CJP program.
“[Fisher] sat down with Judy every time we got out there,” said Coquitlam SAR search manager Dwight Yochim. “She walked on the trails with her. Every time she did that, a new piece of the puzzle came out.”
Zhang was ultimately found 200m off the trail under some ferns.
“We may never know what she did for those four days and three nights,” said Yochim. “I don’t think she moved from that spot.”
The search for Zhang was also carried out on Twitter where many users re-tweeted information regarding the search. Douglas College faculty members also went door-to-door spreading awareness of the search.
When Zhang was finally found, she was reportedly in good health.