What stories lie behind those headlines about the countless number of Canadians who go missing every year — or worse — are presumed dead? In most cases, tales of loved ones gone missing lead to and from places of tremendous tragedy and deep sadness. Sometimes, though, their stories surprise us with twists and turns that even the closest of friends and relatives never imagined. In "Missing," the fifth estate presents three very unique stories about Canadians gone missing.
The Search for Owen Rooney
He was having the time of his life – a young Australian working at a British Colombia ski resort. But Owen Rooney's adventure became his close-knit family's nightmare. This is the story of a son's disappearance and a family's relentless search.
With his work visa about to expire, Rooney spent last summer in Kelowna hanging out with friends and his two sisters. A music festival in Salmo, B.C. was supposed to be his last blast before he went home. But a bad drug reaction put him in a medical tent for most of the weekend. When he missed a ride back to Kelowna, he found himself alone. Over the next couple of days Rooney embarked on a strange journey through the BC interior. For some unknown reason, on August 12, he stopped in the small hamlet of Christina Lake where, according to police, he was assaulted. Rooney then checked himself into a local hospital with head injuries. After staying overnight, sometime on the evening of August 14, Rooney walked out of the hospital and simply disappeared.
Having left their life behind in Australia, Owen Rooney's family have spent the last six months searching western Canada for their lost son – tracking down dozens of leads that have ultimately led them no closer to finding Owen.
“We're probably coming to that crunch time very shortly, we've done a lot of traveling, we've done a lot of canvassing, says Owen's mother Sharron. “We need to sort of sit down now and say where do we go from here and that's what we will do when our hearts tell us that that's what we need to do.”
The Curious Case of Madame Victoria
In June of 2001, a nurse made a gruesome discovery. Lying behind her car in a parking lot in downtown Montreal was a mummified body that had lain undiscovered for two years. It was near the Royal Victoria Hospital, at the foot of Mount Royal, that city's biggest park.
The corpse was dressed in partially decomposed hospital scrubs. Investigators concluded that this was likely someone connected to the medical centre nearby. But they soon discovered that the Royal Victoria had no reports of anyone missing. Police were at a loss, left wondering who was this woman who they now called Madame Victoria?
The search was on to discover the identity of this mysterious missing person. The hunt for the true identity of Madame Victoria has spanned almost a decade. But now developments in forensic science have made it possible for researchers to determine where Madame Victoria lived, as well as her health and age at the time of her death. New information has led investigators to a place far from Montreal, to a family that could unravel the enigma of Madame Victoria.
Finding Julie Bureau
Everyone knew who she was. She'd been missing for nearly three years and photo seemed to be everywhere. With her welcoming big smile and red hair tied back, Julie Bureau could have been anyone's best friend or daughter. At the age of 14 she'd vanished without a trace. One day she was at school and the next day she was gone, without any explanation. Her story captivated Quebecers for years — part mystery — part detective story. Julie's disappearance left her family and community to cope with the numbing unknown. Then suddenly, one day, she was spotted just an hour away from where she'd disappeared. Her parents soon learned their little girl had created a new life for herself and had a new name. She'd been living with a man old enough to be her father, who was hailed as a good Samaritan for taking the little girl in. But Julie's saga didn't end there. It's a story with twists and turns with an ending that is stranger than fiction. The recent arrest of the man Julie had been living with has raised troubling new questions what really happened to a little girl lost then found.