The 44-year-old unsolved mystery of Patrick Power's disappearance

It's been 44 years since Patrick Power disappeared without a trace. His family refuses to give up hope in finding answers to what really happened.

Despite decades of searching, the Power family refuse to give up their search for answers

Ed Power holds a picture of his brother Patrick, who was said to have a smile that would light up a room. (Martin Jones/CBC)

It was an icy day in May 1973 when Patrick Power vanished without a trace.

Now, 44 years later, his family refuses to give up their quest for answers.

Ed Power has never given up hope of finding answers to what really happened the day his brother Patrick disappeared. (Martin Jones/CBC)

Patrick was known to have a smile that could light up a room and melt a few hearts. He served with the military overseas in Germany. He enjoyed having a good time and would never shy away from a fight.

His disappearance made an enormous impact on his family and friends — and left them with distrust.

"There are individuals in this town, even now, that know where he is and we need those people to come forward," said Ed Power, Patrick's brother. "Forget charges, just bring closure."

There was a massive search in the Hodges Hill area outside Grand Falls-Windsor in the days after Patrick's disappearance.

The RCMP, militia and teams of volunteers mobilized on the ground, a helicopter searched from above and a dog to track the scent of the missing man. It all came up empty-handed.

When the search concluded, the rumour mill began.

Hodges Hill stands tall over the central Newfoundland wilderness — an area Patrick Power is thought to have disappeared in. (Paul Rose/Riverfront Chalets)

Some believed he had succumbed to injuries in the back country or had fallen into the bog.

But Patrick was an adventurer and a survivalist and grew up hunting with his father and brothers in the exact area where he disappeared.

 "We'd like to get him and put him with the family ... so his ashes could be spread over their grave."- Ed Power

Ed, one of Patrick's younger brothers, says those theories just don't make sense and he fears a far more sinister end to his brother's life.

"Some information came out somewhere in the '90s that indicated that Pat met with foul play and for various reasons that went by the wayside," said Power.

"I know there was someone that wanted some revenge against him."

Neither the family nor the RCMP was able to find proof of those claims. As a result, Patrick's disappearance became a missing person case — something Ed Power never agreed with.

A snag in the investigation

Then there was the issue of the original investigative file going missing in 1996.

Patrick Power is seen here in his earlier years. (Submitted photo)

In an email to CBC News, the Grand Falls-Windsor detachment of the RCMP confirmed the original file was misplaced but then rebuilt in 1997 using the original investigators' notes, reports and recollections.

They say the case is reviewed periodically, all leads are followed and the Power family has been contacted throughout.

Police say it is protocol for missing persons files to remain open until the missing person would be 110 years old.

The file is purged two years after that.

Time hasn't healed all wounds

As weeks became years and eventually decades, the emotional toll on the entire Power family grew.

It was especially difficult on their mother.

"For him to be gone away and never seen again was a difficult thing for her to accept," said Power. "She went to her death saying, 'What happened to poor old Pat?'"

Ed and Patrick Power's mother spent years agonizing over the disappearance of her son. She died never knowing what happened. (submitted photo)

Power says he and his remaining siblings won't give up their search for answers but admits that time may be running out.

"My memory is starting to fade now because it was such a long time ago," he said. "We're getting older now. So, we only have a limited amount of time. I don't want false hope."

The hope of Patrick being alive faded decades ago.

"We know he's not alive," said Power. "We'd like to get him and put him with the family … some ashes, some bones … so his ashes could be spread over their grave."

Now covered in snow and ice, Patrick Power often hiked this road that led into the Hodges Hill area. This is where he is believed to have gone missing. (Martin Jones/CBC)

Today, Ed lives just a few minutes' drive from the area where his brother was last seen. His daily walk often takes him to a spot where he can see Hodges Hill in the distance. It's an area that still brings back raw emotions.

"We've got a brother that's in here somewhere that we don't know where he is," said Power. "I can sense somewhere he's in here. I can sense it but there's nothing I can do about it."