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UCF #104200056

How Michael Wayne Dunahee Disappeared From a School Playground


Michael Dunahee

Michael Wayne Dunahee

Victoria, British Columbia — , on March 24, 1991, Michael Wayne Dunahee, 4, disappeared from a school playground at Blanshard Park Elementary School. His parents were just metres away from him, but no witnesses to his presumed abduction have been identified and no subsequent confirmed sightings of him have been made.

The family arrived at the school around 12:30 pm, and when they got there, Michael asked his mom if he could visit the playground, which was near the field where the football practice was taking place.

Despite having a gut feeling that "something wasn't quite right", his mother allowed him to walk over to the playground by himself, but told him that once he got there, he had to "stay there and wait for Daddy to come". However, when Michael's dad Bruce came to the playground, Michael was not there. Around fifty people began to look for Michael, and his parents immediately notified the police.

Michael's disappearance became one of the largest police investigations in Canadian history, and to this day, over 11,000 tips have been received by the police. The case was a major story for many years, and was reported across Canada and the United States. However, despite a large number of tips and a CAD$100,000 reward, the police still do not have any solid leads in the case.

Developments

▮ In 2006, reports of a young man who physically resembled Michael and had been living in the Interior of British Columbia since 1991 breathed new life into the case. However, this young man was confirmed by DNA testing not to be Michael.

▮ In early 2009, police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin found a missing person poster of Michael at the home of Vernon Seitz, 62, who had confessed to his psychiatrist that he had murdered a child in 1959 when he was 12 and knew of another child killing. Seitz was later found dead by Milwaukee police, apparently from natural causes.

▮ In 2011, with the 20th anniversary of Michael's disappearance approaching, the police were notified of a man living in Chase, British Columbia who looked like Michael, but DNA testing later confirmed that he was not Michael.

▮ In 2013, a man with the username Canuckels posted on the message boards of the Vancouver Canucks' official website claiming that the police were coming for a DNA test. They had requested a blood sample from a man in Surrey, British Columbia who they believed could possibly be Michael. However, on September 9, the Victoria Police Department stated that the Surrey man was not Michael after DNA testing was done.

▮ In 2020, a Tiktoker by the name of "shanger danger" reportedly found the shirt Michael was said to be wearing at the time of his disappearance. The rare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shirt was found submerged underwater, but after Michael's family reached out to the Tiktoker, they saw the shirt and realized it was not the exact same shirt he was wearing during his disappearance.

This case remains open.

Matt Northway

Matt Northway

See more Case Files contributed by Matt Northway.

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