|Family of missing Australian man, Owen Rooney, brought their search to Edmonton, Jan. 30, 2011. Rooney walked away from a B.C. hospital where he was being treated for head injuries, in August. (FAMILY HANDOUT PHOTO)
EDMONTON -- A devastated yet driven family has given up their lives in Australia to embark on a Canada-wide search for their 25-year-old son who suddenly disappeared following a head injury.
Their search brings them to Edmonton this week.
"We've left our businesses (in Australia) and have been looking for him in Canada ever since," said mother Sharron Rooney, who has taken up temporary residence in B.C.
"We're following up all the leads we can and actively searching. We just don't want him to get lost here. If he doesn't know who he is he could very easily settle into a lifestyle and not come out of it."
For almost six long months, the family of Owen Rooney, an outdoor enthusiast, has been combing Canada for
the man who disappeared last August from a Grand Forks, B.C., hospital with head injuries.
On Sunday afternoon, sister Kelly Rooney, 27, arrived in Edmonton to distribute posters of her brother.
The family says they've received tips that Rooney has been spotted throughout Alberta.
"We've had loads of calls that people have seen him with a group of people selling dream catchers," said Kelly. "We've never got to contact them fully but as far as we know, the group has stopped now."
Rooney was only days away from returning to Australia following a work visa expiry in B.C. when he was attacked Aug. 12 after a music festival. The beating left him with head injuries, hemorrhaging and bruising to his face and ears.
He admitted himself to the hospital where Sharron said staff reported Rooney was "hallucinating."
Rooney walked out of the Grand Forks hospital two days later on Aug. 14, leaving all of his belongings behind and never to be heard from again.
"Owen and I travelled around for two years together and we always make sure people know where we are," said Kelly. "That's always been a courtesy and he's always done that up until he went missing."
This was Rooney's second time staying in B.C. on a work visa.
"We have never had problems with him. No drugs, nothing," said Sharron. "He loves his family, he loves his friends and he loves the life that he had. We want him home."
Described as physically fit and healthy, Rooney is 5-foot-9, 160 pounds and has an Australian accent. He has tattoos on his right calf and shoulder.
He was last seen wearing a dark shirt and shorts.
The family is asking people to visit www.find-owen.com to download posters that can be put up into
There is also a Facebook page called Help Find Owen Rooney with over 3,000 members.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.