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Vancouver Island man found dead near Puerto Vallarta

Nov 08 2012
The body of Vancouver Island man Ron Lloyd Mackintosh was found in Barra de Navidad 

The body of Vancouver Island man Ron Lloyd Mackintosh was found in Barra de Navidad

Photograph by: Handout , Times Colonist

A Nanaimo expatriate living in Mexico has been found dead, reportedly tied to a tree around the neck with his own belt.

The death of Ron MacKintosh, 64, was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The mother of his two children, Joan MacKintosh, said that his son and daughter are devastated.

"We have just received the news," his ex-wife of 15 years said.

Foreign Affairs issued a statement Wednesday to say their thoughts are with MacKintosh's loved ones. Canadian and Mexican officials are investigating the death and providing consular assistance to the family.The results of an autopsy are not yet known.

MacKintosh had a girlfriend in Mexico named Marie Halliday, whom he had been living with. He had gone missing along with his 2008 Jeep Patriot on Oct. 21.

He had retired to the area in 2010 and first lived in the town of Melaque. Within the last six months, MacKintosh and Halliday moved to Barra de Navidad, a small village down the highway.

It was business as usual for him to visit friends in Melaque as he had been doing when he was reported missing.

A friend of MacKintosh's, Brian MacDonald, kept in constant contact with him after his retirement to Mexico.

MacDonald said MacKintosh, a gentle person by nature, had always dreamed of retiring under the sun.

"He was a friendly gringo. Ron retired a little early, he'd been travelling to that area going back fairly consistently for almost 30 years," MacDonald said.

MacKintosh had left home without his passport or identification to visit a friend in Melaque. He was last  seen around 5:30 p.m. local time and was believed to be heading back to Barra de Navidad down a stretch of highway when he disappeared.

"Ron knew that road like the back of his hand, he'd driven it thousands of times," MacDonald said.

When asked about the accuracy of a media report from Mexico that said MacKintosh had been found tied to a tree, MacDonald said he did not want to get into the grisly details. He said that his friend's hands had been bound and his belt removed from his pants to tie his neck to a tree.

"Beyond that, I have no comment," he said. "It was just a matter of driving home, being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a good vehicle. He was abducted and taken into a back road."

The two had known each other for 35 years. As a construction engineer involved in several projects throughout Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, MacKintosh gained a reputation as being hard working and dependable.

"He was a gentle man, never had any temper and honestly was not really mentally or physically capable of hurting anybody," MacDonald said. "He covered my back more than once."

MacKintosh's former colleagues echoed the sentiments of his long-time friend.

J.R. Edgett Excavating employee Gord Parnham described MacKintosh as a modest person. Parnham said that the Nanaimo engineer had been looking forward to the simple life in Mexico.

MacKintosh was known throughout the Vancouver Island construction industry as an engineer with Koers and Associates Engineering in Parksville.

Founding director Tony Koers said MacKintosh was with the company from the very start.

"It's a shocker," he said. "Everybody is extremely sad of course about the loss. They all respected Ron."

MacKintosh had located to Vancouver Island after meeting the mother of his children in Windsor, Ont.

He was involved on projects throughout the region, including several in Nanaimo.

"It's a huge loss," Koers said.

MacKintosh is survived by his son, 28, and daughter, 24.

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