A search is underway for Dave Walker, a 58-year-old Edmonton journalist and filmmaker who's been missing in Cambodia since Friday.
He was last seen in Siem Reap, a popular resort town near the renowned Angkor Temples.
According to an article in the Phnom Penh Post, Walker vanished after leaving his room at an upscale guest house in Siem Reap in order to let a housekeeper clean it. He was carrying only a water bottle, leaving behind his cellphone, laptop, passport and belongings.
He was supposed to meet with his business partner, Sonny Chhoun, on the day he disappeared but when Chhoun stopped by his room he saw Walker's cellphone in its charger, his laptop in hibernation mode and all his belongings, but he could not find his friend.
Walker has been living in Cambodia for about a year and a half and at the Siem Reap guest house for four months, according to colleague Peter Vronsky, who's been co-ordinating search efforts out of Toronto. Vronsky said Walker was well known in the neighbourhood and friendly with the locals.
"It's very unusual, even for Cambodia, for someone to vanish in that way," he said.
When Vronsky learned of his friend's disappearance, he notified members of Walker's family in Edmonton, who set up a Facebook group called Help Find Dave Walker to try to locate him.
Tammy Wallbridge-Madon, Walker's cousin, said this is "not like him."
"He would always let someone know where he is," she said in an interview with CBC News. "Either by code or something."
Wallbridge-Madon said Walker has gone undercover before in carrying out investigations. She added he used to be a private investigator, but stressed that he would still always let someone know where he was or where he was going.
Vronsky added that Walker is "a very sober guy" who doesn't drink or party.
"He's kind of a disciplined writer, author, journalist," he said. "Clearly, something is amiss here."
Friends and family still in dark
Vronsky said he is worried about key pieces of evidence friends and family have been unable to get access to, which could point searchers in the right direction.
"The biggest thing we’re trying to figure out is what happened to Dave’s laptop and cellphone," he said. "We’re not sure where they are.”
Vronsky is also worried that officials aren't expending enough energy looking into this case, that Walker's disappearance could be painted as just another middle-aged, white guy in southeast Asia "looking for love" and that "the embassy's not going to take this seriously."
A spokesperson from the office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular Services said that Canadian officials have been in touch with local authorities to try to gather more information.
In lieu of a Canadian outpost, the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh is investigating Walker's disappearance.
Wallbridge-Madon said she hasn't yet heard anything from government officials.
"It's very frustrating. It's not a good feeling at all," she said. "You're always thinking that the next phone call is going to be 'They found him' or 'They found his body.'"
"At this point, you're hoping that he'll be found alive, but I don't know. A lot of time now has gone by."
Walker is a co-founder of Animist Farm Films, a company based in Siem Reap, which produces "realistically budgeted, high-concept, human interest films," according to its website. Vronsky said Walker had been working on a film relating to the Khmer Rouge, also known as the Communist Party of Kampuchea.
While the Khmer Rouge was in power in the late 1970s, the party introduced policies that disregarded human life and produced repression and massacres on a massive scale.