CALGARY — Ten days ago, Darrell Cloutier was preparing to leave the tropical digs where he has worked for more than two years when his idyllic life in the Bahamas was unexpectedly interrupted.
On the evening of April 10, the 34-year-old administration manager for a half-billion-dollar expansion of a luxury Atlantis resort on Paradise Island was dining with his replacement — another Canadian sent south by Edmonton-based PCL Constructors Inc. — and giving the new guy the lay of the land.
“Darrell was doing an absolutely excellent job for us and in fact was coming to the end of his tour of duty and was about to leave in the next few weeks to return to Canada for a new assignment,” Ross Grieve, PCL's chief executive officer, said Wednesday. “His career was going very well and he was going to take on more responsibility.”
But the morning after that business dinner, the normally dependable Calgary man didn't show up at the work site. His co-workers telephoned him and, by afternoon, went to his condominium in an upscale Nassau neighbourhood where he lives alone.
They found his front door unlocked and groceries purchased the day before still stowed in his car. They called police.
“It's very scary because it's been a long time and there's still no sign of him at all,” Mr. Grieve said. “Your mind could run wild with scenarios but you just don't know, you just don't know.”
Wednesday, Glenn Miller, chief superintendent of the Royal Bahamas Police Force central detective unit, said a 36-year-old Bahamian woman has been charged with a number of offences, including possession of Mr. Cloutier's credit and bank cards, as well as fraud for allegedly siphoning funds from his bank account.
He added that two other people were being interrogated Wednesday in connection with Mr. Cloutier's disappearance. That's in addition to another man, who was also wanted by police for questioning in the case and turned himself in Tuesday.
None of the latter three has been charged, but Supt. Miller said police believe all four people were somehow acquainted with Mr. Cloutier.
“From our inquiries there's definitely a suggestion that they know him,” Chief Supt. Miller said.
“It's difficult to determine at this time what happened,” he added. “It's a very suspicious matter and we're treating it as such. Our inquiries are intense and we're treating this as if something happened to him.”
Police are looking for travel documents, but so far haven't had any luck. They are also looking into threats family members said were made against the affable Canadian, who plays in the weekly Nassau Street Hockey League and has worked for PCL for eight years.
“At this point, I don't have any complaint of a threat other than the relative suggesting he might have been receiving some threatening calls,” Chief Supt. Miller said.
Mr. Cloutier's father, Raymond, travelled to the Bahamas last week and told investigators about the threats. His brother and a cousin are also on the island trying to help find him.Bahamian police did not immediately alert the news media to the missing foreigner and asked the company to refrain from talking about it, as part of the police investigation.
On Monday, local police held a news conference and said they were making progress.
He also said Bahamian police are working diligently to find Mr. Cloutier.
Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that consular officials are in touch with local authorities and have offered assistance to the family.