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28 years after Michael Dunahee disappeared, run keeps hope alive

The memory of Michael Dunahee still resonates in the hearts and minds of Greater Victoria residents.
Michael Dunahee.jpg
At left, Michael Dunahee at four years old in 1991. The photo on the right shows what he might have looked like at age 26; he would now be 32. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

The memory of Michael Dunahee still resonates in the hearts and minds of Greater Victoria residents.

Several hundred people are expected to participate in the Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive five-kilometre run today inspired by the four-year-old boy who disappeared from the playground at Blanshard Elementary School on March 24, 1991.

“We continue to keep the hope alive for that one tip to come through, or for that person who knows something to contact police so we can get the answers we’ve been waiting for,” Michael’s mother, Crystal Dunahee, said Saturday.

Police continue to receive and investigate new tips and are always exploring advancements in forensics and technology, said Det.-Sgt. Michelle Robertson, who works in the historical case review section.

“Over the years many people in our community, including the investigators, have been personally and profoundly affected by this case,” Robertson said.

“So many people have come forward and worked to help our officers, for which we’re very grateful.”

Investigators strongly believe someone out there has first-hand information about what happened to Michael and can tell police about his whereabouts, she said.

“We urge you to come forward and help us resolve this case for Michael’s family and our community.”

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak is planning to speak at the run.

Crystal, her husband Bruce and Michael arrived at the park that day in 1991 in the family car.

Michael was last seen heading toward a small playground at the corner of Wark Street and Kings Road.

Crystal and Bruce went to a touch football practice at an adjacent field. They never saw their son again.

The largest investigation in the history of the Victoria Police Department got underway that afternoon. Ferries and airlines were alerted. Roadblocks were set up on southern Vancouver Island. Hundreds of people searched for the boy.

Police officers and volunteers crawled through garbage bins, searched crawl spaces, checked refrigerators and freezers.

Anyone with information about Michael’s disappearance should call the dedicated Victoria police tip line at 250-995-774 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Registration for the run, a fundraiser for Child Find B.C., begins at 9 a.m. today at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre on Fraser Street. The warmup starts at 9:45 a.m., with runners/walkers leaving at 10 a.m.

There will be short-term road closures along the course, which you can see here.

There will also be detours on B.C. Transit route No. 25:

  • Route 25 to Admirals Walk – from Esquimalt Road, continue on Esquimalt Road, right on Admirals Road, back to regular route.
  • Route 25 to Maplewood – from Admirals Road, left on Esquimalt Road, continue on Esquimalt Road to downtown.

For more information on the event, click here.

ldickson@timescolonist.com