A mother and father walking Manitoba highways to raise awareness about their missing son say they were stopped Tuesday night by the RCMP after being mistaken for protesters.
Bradley and Verle Bushie from Poplar River First Nation were walking from their home community to Winnipeg, a distance of just over 400 km, to bring awareness to their son Bradden Bushie’s disappearance six years ago.
They began the walk last Saturday. Bradley Bushie said they were stopped by RCMP about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday near Black River First Nation.
“They said ‘We can arrest you for protesting,'” said Bradley Bushie.
He said he told the RCMP officer, “We’re not protesting. Do our signs say protest?”
Bradley Bushie said he was told by the police that there were complaints about them being on the highway and that they were blocking the road.
He said he told the RCMP officer that they knew what they were doing and that they were only taking up one lane.
RCMP say it was safety issue
In an emailed statement to CBC News, an RCMP spokesperson said officers from the Powerview, Man., detachment responded to calls at about 8 p.m. about a “traffic hazard” of two people walking with a support vehicle.
She said officers encountered two people on Highway 304 about 10 km north of the Black River turnoff and that the officers told the walkers that they had gotten “several reports from concerned citizens as it is a very dark road, with blind corners, and advised them that they were putting themselves and other drivers at risk.”
She said the officers asked if they would stop their walk until daylight. She said there were no threats of arrest.
This is the second time Bradley and Verle Bushie have walked from Poplar River First Nation to Winnipeg. Their first walk started Feb. 29, 2016.
This year’s walk is expected to finish Friday afternoon at the Thunderbird House in Winnipeg.
Missing since 2013
Bradden Bushie was 18 when he went missing Nov. 16, 2013 in Winnipeg. His parents have joined Winnipeg volunteer search group Drag the Red.
“He was sick. He had problems, almost like schizophrenia,” said Bradley Bushie.
Bradden Bushie was born on Feb. 6, 1995. He has black hair, is five feet 11 inches tall and weighed 148 pounds at the time of his disappearance.
Anyone with information about Bradden Bushie is asked to contact the Winnipeg Police Service’s Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250.