By Hil Spencer, New Crowndon Correspondent
29/4- Sad news today for those of us at the Gazette and those closely following the disappearance of the Lelina expedition: the Colonial Marshals have called off their ongoing search for the missing townspeople and the academic team sent to investigate ruins in the area.
The news comes as an exceptionally hard blow after the recent ray of hope in finding Martine Babin, a member of the expedition. After the professor was recovered, search efforts in the area between Lelina and Point Hammond were doubled. However, a rash of disappearances amongst the search parties has caused the efforts to be ceased immediately.
“This decision is deeply regrettable,” said Chief Arnold Murray. “But the price of a continued search outweighs the benefit of finding the missing persons. Since we renewed the search, the number of missing has tripled.”
On top of the news that the search has ended in the wake of these new disappearances, Chief Murray has ordered a mandatory evacuation for the township of Point Hammond, as well as all townships south of the McHammet-Docker line.
“There’s something strange going on in the region,” Murray went on to say. “We have no idea what it is, and I’m not sure we can figure it out without losing a large number of people. Quite frankly, whatever is going on has me scared, and I don’t admit that lightly.”
The evacuation is already underway. Memorial services for the missing will be held early next week. A public ceremony for Gazette reporter Adella Chatelaine will be held at the paper’s Oeil de Fleur office in Nor Easter next Mursday morning.