C B C . C A   N e w s   -   F u l l   S t o r y :

JTF2 soldier missing since 2003 surfaces in Thailand

OTTAWA - An explosives expert with Canada's elite commando unit who disappeared after a two-week leave in August 2003 is now in military custody in Canada after showing up in Thailand.

Montgomery Paisley (file photo)

Questions remain about what Special Forces Sergeant Montgomery Paisley of Joint Task Force 2 did while he was missing, officials said.

Paisley served a 2002 tour of duty in Afghanistan, fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda groups, before cleaning out his bank account, taking a commercial flight to Bangkok and vanishing.

The native of Brown's Flat, N.B., had been in the Canadian military for 16 years.

The case was a particular concern to Canadian authorities because Paisley specialized in explosives, mines and booby traps. Authorities believed he had a laptop computer containing bomb-making information when he disappeared.

A total of 13 military investigators turned up no clues to his whereabouts for almost two years, said Capt. Mark Giles of the National Investigation Service (NIS).

"Last week, Sgt. Montgomery Paisley approached the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, indicating he would like to return to Canada," Giles said Thursday. "After consultation with Thai authorities, members of the NIS travelled to Thailand and returned him safely home."

The fact that Paisley emptied out his bank account indicates some premeditation, said military analyst David Rudd of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.

"Given the fact that he went to Southeast Asia, given the fact that his whereabouts and activities were unknown for the better part of two years ... this [is] a national security issue. You just can't avoid it," Rudd told CBC News.

He said it's worrisome that highly trained military investigators could not track down the soldier.

The military won't disclose Paisley's current location, citing national security. They will only say that he is safe and in custody at a "defence establishment in Canada."

Members of Paisley's family in New Brunswick say they're glad he's safe but know nothing more about where he is.

Copyright ©2005 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved