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VIDEO: Mother of missing B.C. woman critical of hospital staff

Rebecca Harbowy missing since she left Ridge Meadows hospital in the early morning on Nov. 23

Family of a Maple Ridge woman who has been missing for about two weeks is asking why Ridge Meadows Hospital staff let her walk into the night.

Rebecca Harbowy, 36, has been missing since Nov. 23, when she walked away from the hospital at approximately 1:20 a.m. in the morning.

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Her mother, Debbie Harbowy, is asking how the hospital could simply release a woman who was confused and disoriented, with no coat on a freezing night, no phone, and no money.

Security officers reportedly walked her down the driveway to the edge of the property, at Laity Street, and watched her go, said the grief-stricken mother.

“And it was below zero,” she added.

If they had instead made a phone call and asked Rebecca to wait for her mother, rather than releasing her, Rebecca would not be missing, Debbie asserted.

Harbowy said her daughter went to the hospital in an ambulance on Nov. 22, at about 5 p.m. She was sick at home, vomiting and confused, and Debbie decided her daughter needed medical assistance.

Rebecca agreed, and wanted to go by ambulance.

A physician said Rebecca would need to stay at least three days to get through the worst of her ordeal.

The worried mother stayed with her daughter, who showed signs of being delusional. She pulled an IV out of her arm getting up to use the washroom.

Debbie fed Rebecca half a sandwich, and had to tell her to chew it. She had to help her drink half a container of juice. Her mom described Rebecca as “out of it.”

Rebecca finally slept at about midnight. Debbie stayed at the hospital until 12:30 a.m., then she decided to go home and sleep herself.

“I left with confidence my daughter was in a safe, secure place,” she said.

At 1:35 a.m., she got a phone call from the hospital, informing her that Rebecca had left.

Debbie left immediately, but couldn’t find her daughter. She drove around until 5 a.m. searching.

She stopped at a trailer park on Lougheed Highway where Rebecca knew people, and some got on bikes to help look for the missing woman.

But the family has not had a reported sighting of her beyond that night.

They recently received a video from an area resident, surveillance footage showing the missing woman walking down River Road, eastbound, near the Port Haney West Coast Express station, at 1:46 a.m.

“It’s clear as a bell, it’s Rebecca walking down the middle of the road.”

Then another tipster said he saw a woman matching Rebecca’s description walking on the Haney Bypass at approximately 2 a.m. that day. He saw writing on her clothing that matched the description.

Debbie believes her daughter had been walking home.

This past Wednesday afternoon, friends and family were gathering at the Billy Miner Alehouse & Cafe to organize a neighbourhood search and canvas.

Debbie wants to keep looking for anything, any clue to her daughter’s whereabouts.

“We’re grasping at straws,” she said, but hopes some missed piece of information will be helpful in finding her daughter.

Fraser Health said adult patients are able to discharge themselves against medical advice.

“Our thoughts are with this person’s family during this difficult time. We hope she is located and safe,” said spokesperson Nick Eagland.

“We have reached out to the patient’s family to answer any questions they have as we know this is a very distressful time,” he noted. “To protect the confidentiality of our patients, we will not discuss the details related to a specific patient’s health care circumstances.”

Harbowy is described as a Caucasian female, 5 ft. 6 in. tall, 170 pounds, with brown/red hair.

She was last seen wearing a grey Nike hoodie with black logo lettering on the chest, black Puma sweatpants with lettering on the bottom left pant leg, and black and white Nike running shoes.

Harbowy has multiple tattoos on her hands, neck, torso, and back. Her mother described her hand and finger tattoos as henna-style designs, and the word Romeo, for her cat.

If anyone has information regarding Harbowy’s whereabouts, or have seen her, please contact the Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251 and refer to file #2023-23402.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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