the fifth estate - Just Another Missing Kid : 1981-04-07
Debuting in 1975, The Fifth Estate aims to tell the stories of individuals whose lives were changed by institutions, and to hold these institutions to account. Its frank, provocative investigations helped bring killers to justice, free the wrongfully convicted and spark overhauls of government services.
A special documentary hosted by Ian Parker detailing a family's search for their missing son. On July 10, 1978, 19 year-old Eric Wilson left his Ottawa home and set out alone in his van for Boulder, Colorado where he was to attend a summer course. Four days later, he called from Nebraska and told his brother he'd had trouble with the van, and promised to call the next day at five o'clock. That was the last the Wilsons ever heard from him. Assuming Eric's disappearance was temporary, law agencies in Canada and the U.S. refused to assist in a search, leaving the Wilsons no choice but to hire an expensive private detective and former New York City policeman Jim Conway. Beginning with the scant evidence of foul play uncovered by the U.S. authorities, Conway eventually pieced together the details of Eric's disappearance, which led to the arrest and conviction of known offenders Raymond Hatch and Bertram Davis who had murdered Eric in cold blood. Conway had managed with sheer determination to gain the truth from witnesses where Peter Wilson and his father had failed in their search to find Eric. Unfortunately, Hatch and Davis did not receive the life sentences Eric Wilson's family fought for. Instead Hatch served only 13 years and Davis only two as a result of plea-bargaining deals used to reduce costly trials and numbers in overcrowded prisons. Discussing the case are: Eric's mother Marilyn, his brother Peter and his father William; Brunswick, Maine Police Detective Sergeant Ken Taylor; Maine Assistant District Attorney Steven Devine; Maine District Attorney Paula Silsby(?); former Brunswick Police Captain Rene Sylvester; FBI agent Adrian Foster; Connecticut authority in charge of Hatch's extradition to Colorado Arnold Shawalsky; Colorado District Attorney Terence Farina; and private detective Jim Conway. In addition to outlining the case of Eric Wilson, the program, hosted by Ian Parker, is an indictment of American justice, of an indifferent and incompetent legal system drained of money and glutted with criminals. Includes stills of Eric at various ages and footage and stills of Hatch and Davis. Program awards include: New York - International Film and TV Festival; gold medal in investigative reporting category (1981); American Film Festival - 1st prize (blue ribbon), documentary category (1982); ACTRA awards, best TV program of the year (1981); Banff International Television Festival - best socio-political documentary and best documentary script (1981); Ohio Awards - achievement of merit award (1982) and Anik Awards - best documentary (1981);