Family plans scholarship to create a lasting legacy for missing son

A P.E.I. family is hoping a crowdfunding and social media campaign will provide funding for a scholarship in memory of their son — who has been missing for 25 years — and perhaps answers, as well.

'There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him'

Steven O'Brien was 18 years old when he disappeared from Charlottetown on March 20, 1993. (Submitted by the O'Brien family)

A P.E.I. family is hoping a social media campaign will help provide funding for a scholarship in memory of their son — who has been missing for 25 years — and perhaps answers, as well.

Steven O'Brien was an 18-year-old culinary student at Holland College when he disappeared from Charlottetown on March 20, 1993.

Steven's mother, Janet, and father, Charlie, say they are looking for closure — and a lasting legacy — with the scholarship.

"Twenty five years is a long time to have to deal with something like this and a friend of Steven's approached me a little while ago ...  so from there we decided to set up a bursary or scholarship to go towards a deserving student at Holland College," said Janet O'Brien.
Janet and Charlie O'Brien hope a scholarship fund could build a lasting legacy for their missing son Steven. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The O'Briens say their son's ambition was to become a chef.

They see a scholarship to the culinary arts program as a fitting tribute to their son.

Janet remembers a young Steven hiding behind the couch with flour and a bowl trying to make pancakes to surprise her.

"Steven loved to bake, right from when he was just a little guy ... so he was just, he was very in touch with what he liked to do and always was a very caring and loving young guy," Janet said.

Remembering Steven O'Brien

Family and friends of Steven O'Brien have set up a GoFundMe campaign called Remembering Steven O'Brien to fund the scholarship. Within hours, it had reached half its $10,000 goal.

Steven's parents say that shows people still care.

"It's in everybody's hearts," said Charlie O'Brien. "I think people feel for it."

They're also planning an event this summer for friends and family to gather and share memories of Steven.
The disappearance of Steven O'Brien is still an open missing persons case with Charlottetown Police Services. (Charlottetown Police Services)

Steven's case is still an active and open Charlottetown Police Services file.

Steven was last seen leaving a pub on Richmond street, headed toward Queen on that March night 25 years ago.

Word is out there that we're still searching and it won't be closed until we get answers.— Janet O'Brien

His parents hope the scholarship in his name and the social media activity that goes with it, may generate new information about what happened that night 25 years ago.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him," Janet said.

"Word is out there that we're still searching and it won't be closed until we get answers." 

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With files from Brian Higgins