Duncan MacPherson was a first round NHL draft pick in 1984.
When someone goes missing or a body turns up, we count on police to spring
into action. But when a 23-year-old Saskatoon native and professional hockey
player named Duncan MacPherson
in the Austrian Alps in 1989, his parents soon discovered that the local
police weren't very interested at all in helping them. For 14 years,
Duncan's disappearance remained a mystery.
The fifth estate investigates Duncan's disappearance
and the story of his parents, Bob and Lynda MacPherson, who were determined
to uncover the truth about their missing son in the face of bureaucratic
bungling and police intransigence. Their search for answers would take
them to Austria nine times. It came to define their lives and cost them
their life savings.
A promising life
Duncan MacPherson was living the Canadian hockey dream in 1989. He was
headed to Europe for a coaching job in a new country, but first he would
take a vacation in the Austrian Alps. And that is where he vanished – for
Duncan MacPherson's body emerged from the ice 14 years after he disappeared.
Then, in July 2003, under a hot summer sun, his body emerged out of a melting
alpine glacier, right in the middle of a popular
. Just hours after the body's discovery,
without an autopsy or a proper investigation, Austrian authorities announced
it was an accident that had killed Duncan, an accident that was his own
fault. But, his parents suspected something sinister had happened to their
son on that ski slope, something authorities don't want tourists
The fifth estate traveled to Austria with Bob and Lynda to retrace their
frustrating 14 year struggle to find their son – and to find out
how he died. What soon emerged was a picture of missed leads, a botched
investigation and indifferent authorities that seem more interested in
protecting the tourist industry than finding out how Duncan MacPherson
The fifth estate talked to officials from the Austrian
police, forensics and the justice system to confront them about the lies
of witnesses, conflicting statements and a shocking lack of investigation
on the part of Austrian authorities.
A different conclusion
Using evidence from the scene, Canadian forensic anthropologist Myriam
comes to very different conclusions about the probable cause of Duncan's