On the 30th anniversary of one of Greater Victoria’s most notorious missing persons cases, family members hope a new age-enhanced sketch will help them find answers.
Four-year-old Michael Dunahee went missing from a playground in Victoria in 1991. Despite an extensive search involving hundreds of volunteers and police from multiple agencies, he was never found.
“We have always kept our hope alive,” Crystal Dunahee said. “It is our hope that this new sketch, which shows what Michael may look like today, as a grown man, will help bring us the answers we need.”
“If Michael was in the room right now, I would just tell him how much I loved him,” Bruce Dunahee, Michael’s father, said during a Wednesday press conference. “It’s been 30 years and we can’t give up looking for our son, and it’s so great to know that the police department and citizens in Canada and around the world haven’t given up either — and that’s what helps keep us going.”
On March 24, 1991, at approximately 12:30 p.m., the four-year-old boy went missing from the Blanshard school playground, just a short distance away from his family. A large number of people were in the area at the time for a touch football game.
Crystal said they’re always looking at people wherever they go, wondering if one of them could be their son. Bruce said he still wears a T-shirt brandishing Michael’s face 90 per cent of the time in case someone would see it and have some sort of information about his son.
“We continue to keep that hope alive,” Crystal said.
|Investigators are releasing a new age-enhanced sketch to mark the 30th anniversary of Michael Dunahee’s disappearance. (Courtesy of VicPD)|
“Someone out there knows what happened to Michael that day 30 years ago and where Michael is today. We need to hear from that person,” said Detective Sgt. Michelle Robertson of the Victoria Police Department’s historical case review section.
The investigation into his disappearance remains one of the largest missing child investigations in Canada. To help gather information, a new online tip portal has been launched at vicpd.ca/michaeldunaheetips.
“It is absolutely heart-breaking to know this family has been searching for their child for three decades,” said Lianna McDonald, executive director at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Michael did not just vanish. Someone somewhere knows what happened to him. It’s been 30 years – it’s time to come forward and share that information and help this hurting family.”
Crystal believes the new sketch, compared to computer-generated images, is a better representation of what the family feels Michael would look like now.
Victoria police chief Del Manak said the department has received 10,000 tips related to Michael’s case over the last 30 years. He said the goal of launching the image is to generate additional awareness and tips about the case.
“I remember that day vividly,” said Manak, who was serving as a relatively new officer at the time. As someone who grew up in Victoria the news caught his attention. “This particular investigation has been with me for my whole policing career.
“I’d like to see closure. I would like to find Michael.”
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