Residents of Bellevue Beach were taken aback Wednesday as their normally quiet town turned into a bustle of police activity, hours after the body of Philip Smith was found in a wooded area between Bellevue Beach and the Trans-Canada Highway.
Smith, the former boyfriend of missing woman Cortney Lake, was said to have committed suicide. The Telegram learned there were no weapons involved. Police received a call early Wednesday morning.
Marked and unmarked police cars, including the K-9 unit, lined the TCH. RNC investigator Tom Warren arrived and spoke with Joe Cleary of the Avalon North Wolverines.
Minutes later, several members of the Rovers search and rescue team arrived and then took off down the turnoff to a Bellevue Beach cabin, which is next door to the cabin owned by Smith's father, Melvin Smith.
“I don’t mind at all,” cabin owner Leonard Bemister told The Telegram. “They’ve got a job to do.”
Shortly after the Rovers search and rescue mobile command centre arrived. Members of the Central Avalon search and rescue unit were also on the scene.
Representatives of the Rovers and RNC Const. Colin Deacy would not release any information, only to say they were doing an evidence line search. In all, close to 60 people from various search and rescue groups were gathered behind the cabin to begin the two or three kilometre search to the TCH.
Residents in the area were shocked to hear the news.
“Never knew a thing until I heard it on the news,” a lady working at a convenience store said.
Down the road at the gas station, the clerk and customer both said they knew Melvin Smith to be a nice man. They knew little about his son.
“But this crazy,” the woman said. “Something like this never happens here.”
About 3:15 p.m., many members of the Rovers moved their search down the road next door to the area around the Smith cabin.
The search is expected to conclude once it gets dark.