British Columbia

'We're still searching for answers': Mother determined to solve 30-year-old case of missing son

Charles Horvath-Allan left England for Canada in 1989. He was last seen near Kelowna and never returned home.

Denise Horvath-Allan wishes to find her son's remains and bring them home to rest

Denise Horvath-Allan is visiting Kelowna again to ask for help in solving the case of her son Charles, who disappeared almost 30 years ago. (Facebook)

The mother of a man thought to have been killed in Kelowna nearly 30 years ago is still pleading for answers. 

Denise Horvath-Allan has never stopped searching for her son Charles, who disappeared in 1989 while backpacking from Quebec to British Columbia.

"He was 20 years old. If he needed help, he would ring home and ask for money," Horvath-Allan told CBC's Radio West host Sarah Penton. "This telephone call never came."

The British native has travelled to Kelowna over a dozen times to look for leads but has found no solution to his sudden disappearance.

Despite health troubles, 70-year-old Horvath-Allan flew to Kelowna again this week to continue her search and apply for her son's presumption of death certificate.

Denise Horvath-Allan had planned to meet her son Charles, right, in Hong Kong for his birthday in 1989. (Facebook)

Horvath-Allan told Penton she last spoke to her son about meeting for his 21st birthday. He would have turned 50 this year.

She described the dawning horror that her son would never return home after Charles stopped calling. 

"I knew something terrible had happened to him," she said, convinced he would never cause his family to worry.

A year into the silence, Horvath-Allan made the trek to B.C. to press for answers.

She discovered that local police had found some of Charles' clothing at a campsite. They asked Horvath-Allan to identify the items, she said, telling her they believed her son was dead but didn't know how he died or why.

His remains have never been found.

"There are people in Kelowna who unfortunately know the fate of Charles, and they're too afraid to come forward," she said, imploring them to "find the courage" to contact her or the RCMP.

"Time's running out for me," she said. "I would just like what's left of my life to have peace."

Horvath-Allan was married in British Columbia and honeymooned in the Okanagan.

"It's where he was created, ironically, in the Okanagan valley, she said. "And where he was lost."

During a trip to the region in 2015, she told CBC Radio it would be her final journey. But, unable to rest and hoping to finally recover his remains, she returned to ask again for help.

 "I'll be back," she vowed, "and I'll never stop coming back until I have the answers."

With files from CBC's Radio West


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