BROADCAST DATE : Apr 7, 1981

Just Another Missing Kid

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.

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); Academy Award for best documentary feature (1983).

Hosted by Ian Parker and produced by acclaimed documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky.