SUDBURY -- As of Feb. 7, Greater Sudbury Police had received 30 tips regarding missing Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini.
Police are following up on each of those tips, GSPS spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn told Sudbury.com.
Police say search efforts on the city’s western edge, where the last confirmed sighting of Vagnini occurred, have wound down. This week, police and volunteers from North Shore Search and Rescue searched an area in the Moonglo neighbourhood, but turned up nothing.
“New tips and information continue to come in through the tip line and through our non-emergency number,” Dunn said.
As far as the investigation goes, she said police continue to speak with friends, family and members of the public who interacted with Vagnini in the days and weeks prior to his disappearance.
“Those investigative avenues continue to be pursued and will always continue as new information keeps coming in,” Dunn said.
The last confirmed sighting of the missing politician remains a surveillance video that shows his black Dodge Ram 1500 pickup travelling westbound on McCharles Lake Road on Jan. 27 between 5:30 and 5:40 p.m. that day.
However, as police remain in continuous contact with Sirius XM (which Vagnini’s truck was equipped with), cellular companies and banking establishments in hopes the missing man uses his cellphone, debit or credit cards, these investigative tactics have not yet generated any new, police have said.
“If a new ‘point last seen’ is determined or if the vehicle is located, officers will pursue investigative avenues including ground and aerial searches, as well as canvasses of the area to speak with community members and gather any pertinent evidence including video surveillance footage,” Dunn said.
The last time Sirius XM was accessed by Vagnini’s vehicle was at approximately 2:45 a.m. on Jan. 28. This suggests the councillor could have been driving for some time after his truck was last seen.
“Due to the unique nature of this incident, as Michael was last seen driving a vehicle, we cannot account for a period of time between the time last seen at 5:30 p.m. on January 27 on McCharles Lake Road and 2:45 a.m. on January 28, when the vehicle’s Sirius XM technology was first accessed,” Dunn said. “Accessing the vehicle’s Sirius XM technology did not provide us with a location for the vehicle.
“There is a potential that he could have travelled a substantial distance in that time, well beyond the boundaries of our community and there is always a potential that he travelled by means other than his personal vehicle. We are alive to every possibility and until a time where we can say for certain that this did not occur, we will continue to explore every option.”
Information related to Vagnini and his vehicle have been shared with police services nationally through the Canadian Police Information Centre, in the event he has left the jurisdiction.
“This will always be an ongoing investigation until Michael is located,” Dunn said. “We will continue to be responsive to new information and allocate resources based on tips from the public and information gathered through investigative avenues.”
In related news on the search, Vagnini’s partner, Janie Galipeau, made a post on the Ward 2 Greater Sudbury Facebook page, asking that anyone with “valid information” to share it with police and to ask people not to share rumours about the city councillor to social media.
“I am writing this post as Erin, Alison (Vagnini’s daughters) and I have been hearing many untruths about Michael’s disappearance,” Galipeau wrote. “It is very hurtful, stressful and unproductive. We are working closely with police and if it doesn’t come from them then it is not factual.
“The amount of support and love is amazing but the negativity is too much right now. Please share any valid information with the police instead of social media if you feel it may help bring Michael back to his family! Anything else just makes coping more difficult for the entire Vagnini family. Please never give up looking for our beloved Michael. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”