Victoria Police released an age-enhanced sketch of Michael Dunahee on Wednesday, a boy that went missing exactly 30 years ago.
Dunahee, who was four years old at the time, went missing at around 12:30 p.m. on March 24, 1991, from an area near the Blanshard Elementary playground in Victoria. He had left his mother to play at the nearby playground and was a short distance away from his family.
His mother, Crystal Dunahee, had been at the location for a touch football game in a field next to the playground. She had given Michael permission to go play in the park and wait for his father Bruce. That was the last time anyone saw Michael.
It’s heart-wrenching to see because the last time we saw him he was 4 years old. Thirty years later it’s a grown man,” said Crystal Dunahee.
An extensive search was launched for Michael, which involved hundreds of volunteers and police from multiple agencies, however, he still has never been found.
“This is one battle we’re not going to lose. We’re going to keep looking until we get some results, no matter how long it takes,” said Bruce Dunahee.
An age-enhanced sketch of Michael, created by BC RCMP forensic sketch artist Cpl. Virginia Bernier showing Michael as he may appear at 34-years-old was released today and a new online tip portal is being launched.
“Working with information from Michael’s family and relying on years of expertise and training, Cpl. Bernier worked extensively with VicPD Detective Sgt. Michelle Robertson to create the image,” said the Victoria Police Department on Wednesday.
Cpl. Bernier notes that Michael’s story “really hits home” for all officers involved with the case.
“It’s my hope that my work, in some small way, helps resolve this file,” she added in a statement on Wednesday.
The Dunahee family has used their tragedy to develop an initiative, aimed at protecting other families. The annual Michael Dunahee ‘Keep The Hope Alive’ Run has been a fixture in our community for 30 years. Each year, families run and walk both to mark Michael’s disappearance and highlight the on-going search, but all monies raised go to Child Find BC.
“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.”
Investigators with VicPD continue to push the message that they remain committed to solving the case of Michael’s disappearance.
“We don’t know. We don’t know what has happened to Michael. Our goal is to get to the bottom, find out what the truth is. We know, someone who is holding the truth, someone who has seen something,” said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.
“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,” adds Sgt. Michelle Robertson of VicPD’s Historical Case Review Section.
VicPD says the force continues to partner with agencies including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in the search for Michael and to help protect children everywhere.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking to know this family has been searching for their child for three decades. We want to commend the Victoria Police Department for their commitment to finding Michael, and their efforts today to continue the search,” Lianna McDonald, Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said. “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.”
The investigation into Michael Dunahee’s disappearance remains one of the largest missing person investigations in Canada.
To help gather information, a new Michael Dunahee online tip portal has been launched at vicpd.ca/michaeldunaheetips.
Anyone with information on Michael Dunahee’s disappearance is being asked to visit vicpd.ca/michaeldunaheetips or contact VicPD’s dedicated Michael Dunahee Tip Line at 250-995-7444.