A young Lower Mainland man is fighting for his life at Kelowna General Hospital after being found frozen and unresponsive in the snow in Salmon Arm.
“We’re basically prepared for the worst,” said Rob Stalker, the man’s brother. “We don’t expect him to come through this.”
Jordon Stalker, 23, started a fire last Saturday in a carport on Second Nations Road.
The fire significantly damaged the structure, destroyed the vehicle and caused extensive smoke and water damage inside the home.
Fortunately, the two people inside managed to escape unharmed.
RCMP said an officer tracked a set of footprints in the fresh snow and followed them into the thick bush behind the residence for about two kilometres.
That’s when the officer located Stalker lying unconscious in the snow.
“The only article of clothing left on was his sock … he was naked,” said Rob Stalker. “He has severe frostbite in multiple places on his body.”
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Police said the officer immediately started CPR.
A second officer from the Kelowna Police Dog Section also made his way down to the road to help search and rescue the unresponsive man.
Jordon Stalker was eventually taken to a waiting ambulance, then was airlifted to Kelowna.
“I understand it was like three feet of snow. It was too hard to transport him,” said an emotional Samantha Stalker.
“The officer is an ex-paramedic. Jordon was lucky to have all those people in place.”
Both Samantha and Rob said they feel terrible for the family whose house was damaged, but they stress Jordon’s actions were not malicious.
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“At the point he started the fire, was, you know, to keep warm,” Rob said. “My brother is not an arsonist.”
“He’s not a bad person,” said Samantha. “Jordy has the biggest heart in the world, somebody who would give you the shirt off his back.”
The family says Jordon, who has been in and out of the judicial and mental health system, has suffered from mental health issues for years — issues they say eventually led to drug use.
“From there, I believe a heavy onset of psychosis took effect … consistently labelled the drug addict and put into rehabilitation facilities with no holding ground there and just being released.”
In fact, the Lower Mainland-based family says Jordon was brought to a treatment facility outside of Kamloops by Correctional Services when he left and somehow made it to Salmon Arm.
The family believes he may have hitchhiked to see an ex-girlfriend.
“He had nowhere to stay there, so he was walking around and nowhere to stay. It was cold … and he wasn’t dressed for it,” said Samantha Stalker.
The family is upset that numerous attempts to get their loved one needed help ended in this situation.
“We have tried as a family to get him mental health and he’s been in and out of the justice system and you know, in and out of the mental health system and nothing has come of it,” Rob Stalker said.
They feel the system failed Jordon.
“The problem with him being an adult is if he can make a conscious decision, the family can’t do anything. We have no information,” Rob said.
“The only reason we knew he was here is because we got a phone call from the police. We had no idea of his release, his whereabouts or anything.”
They’re hoping to piece it together and are pleading with anyone who may have seen Jordon in the Kamloops or Salmon Arm areas to contact them to help trace his steps.
“Help me figure out what happened here,” said Rob.
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The family said police have not laid any charges.
“I feel like the important basis here is the lack of support for mental health that he received,” Rob Stalker said.
“If anything can come from this maybe, you know, the chance of impacting somebody else in this situation, a mother, a brother, a sister, a father, a loved one. There needs to be more of a support.”
If you would like to contact Rob Stalker, you can do so via email at [email protected].
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