I was just looking at the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, which appears to be the Canadian equivalent of NamUs. As ever, the names and faces haunt me. Especially the older ones.
The oldest Canadian case in the database dates back to either 1935 or 1936; they’re not sure. His name was Eetu Vainonen and he disappeared from Thunder Bay in Ontario. The name sounds either Finnish or Estonian, I’m not sure. He would be 108 years old today. The oldest female case is Kathleen Johnson, missing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan since 1953. She was on her way to work when she got off a city bus and…vanished.
They’ve got a pair of brothers, Native Americans (or First Nations or Aboriginals, as they’re called in Canada), aged 12 and 14, who left the Pelican Falls Residential School in 1956 and never returned. Since the boys, named Tom and Charles Ombash, planned to go canoeing, perhaps they had an accident of some kind and drowned. No photos for them. I suppose Canada, being further north and much more rural than the United States, would have a lot more “lost/injured missing” type disappearances. I’ve only ever been in Ontario and Quebec, and only in the warm months.
There’s a family of four who vanished in 1965. Their fates are pretty much known — they crashed their plane — but their bodies were never found. Mom, Dad and two boys, aged seven and three. No photos there either. Little Adrien McNaughton‘s case reminds me a lot of Kurt Newton‘s. Adrien disappeared in 1972, Kurt in 1975. Adrien was five, Kurt was four. Both boys were blond. Both wandered off into the woods — Adrien in Ontario, Kurt in Maine quite near the Canadian border — and never returned.
Beautiful, long-haired, wide-eyed Ingrid Bauer vanished in 1972, walking home from her boyfriend’s house. Sylvie Ouimet ran away from a troubled psychiatric hospital in 1975 and went out into nowhere. A middle-aged woman named Marion Thesson disappeared in 1979, briefly resurfaced in 1984 and then vanished again. She would now be 85ish and may be dead now.
The case of Sultana Suljovic is similar to Charley’s Yuan Xia Wang: a non-English-speaking teenager is smuggled into the country, placed in foster care, and then disappears, possibly to go underground.
16-year-old Sunshine April Hilda “Sunny” Wood was from Gods Earth, Manitoba, a very remote Cree Indian settlement. She arrived in Winnipeg in September 2003, started high school, made friends, and then vanished without a trace just before midnight on February 20, 2004. Her disappearance is profiled in this article, which has another photo of her. And this blog has surveillance camera images of her in the last moments before she disappeared after the face of the earth.
Mario Marabella was abducted in broad daylight in December 2008, when three people forced him into a van and made off with him. His car turned up later, torched. He was in the Italian Mafia. (I didn’t know they still had a Mafia.) This article describes him as “a convicted loan shark with ties to the Rizzuto clan.”
If I didn’t already have way too much on my plate, I’d profile Canadian cases on Charley too, and possibly ones from other English-speaking countries. (I can’t read or speak any other language. This is a great deficiency on my part and I’m frankly ashamed of it. I’d like to learn to read Yiddish and/or Polish, or at least German, but that’s neither here nor there.) So instead I look at their faces and wonder about them. Somebody has got to remember these people.