British Columbia

29 years ago, a family of 4 vanished — but RCMP are still investigating

On the anniversary of the disappearance, investigators with the Prince George RCMP are renewing calls for information — and specifically seeking out an anonymous tipster who they believe could have information.

Investigators are seeking an anonymous source who sent information to a 3rd party

Ronald and Doreen Jack, both 26, and their two children Russell, 9, and Ryan, 4, were last heard from during the early morning of Aug. 2, 1989. (Submitted by Marlene Jack)

It's not common to hear of an entire family vanishing into thin air.

But that's what happened nearly three decades ago, when the Jack family left their home on Strathcona Avenue in Prince George, B.C., heading to a logging camp, where they had been offered jobs.

Ronald and Doreen Jack, both 26, and their two children Russell, 9, and Ryan, 4, were last heard from during the early hours of Aug. 2, 1989, when Ronald called his mother in the Burns Lake area.

Since then, Doreen's sister Marlene Jack has fought to keep the case — and some hope — alive.

"It just blows me away that my sister has been missing for 29 years," she said. "I just want to bring them home."

RCMP say they believe someone has information that could help solve the disappearance of the Jack family. (Prince George RCMP)

Now, on the anniversary of the disappearance, investigators with the Prince George RCMP are renewing calls for information — and specifically seeking an anonymous tipster who they believe could have useful information.

RCMP say the tipster provided information to a third party — by phone and then mail — which was then passed on to investigators.

The RCMP won't say when this happened or what the information was, as it could compromise the investigation.

But investigators want to speak directly to the original tipster, in hope that they could provide a fresh lead.

Marlene Jack, Doreen's sister, testified at the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Smithers, B.C., in September 2017. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Thousands of documents, no leads

"We do believe that there are persons out there who have information and just haven't come forward or, for whatever reason, are reluctant to," said Cpl. Craig Douglass with the Prince George RCMP.

"So we would like them to take that step and contact us so that we can resolve this and solve this three-decade mystery."

He said the investigation has involved "thousands of documents and lots of details," but that none have yielded a breakthrough.

Marlene, who was 23 when her sister, brother-in-law and two nephews disappeared, testified about the case during hearings at the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Smithers, B.C. in September 2017 and was praised for the commissioner for her bravery.

But she said it's been difficult to keep up hope.

"It's a long process. They have to go through all the boxes and stuff. It's just frustrating when I'm hearing the same thing, nothing new, nothing new," she said.

"Even the coroner in Prince George is telling me how much they care about the family, and they're praying that the family is found and yet nothing is done. The case is still on the back burner. I'm trying to push it and get it off this back burner and get the investigation going."

Marlene said as police renew a call for information, she's feeling "kind of anxious, worried, hopeful."

"I would really like to know where my sister is and her family, and I want to bring them home. Twenty-nine years has been a long time not knowing what happened to them."

In a statement from the RCMP, Douglass wrote that the disappearance "has greatly impacted many for three decades, but none more than their family and friends."

"Having information about what may have happened to the Jack family must weigh heavy on anyone with it."

Anyone with information about Ronald, Doreen, Russell and Ryan Jack and what happened to them, is asked to contact Prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.

Thousands of documents have accumulated during the investigation into the nearly 30-year-old case. (Prince George RCMP)

​With files from Wil Fundal and Robert Doane

About the Author

Michelle Ghoussoub

@MichelleGhsoub

Michelle Ghoussoub is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. She has previously reported in Lebanon and Chile. Reach her at michelle.ghoussoub@cbc.ca or on Twitter @MichelleGhsoub.