Family continues search for missing Manitoba man, 1 year after disappearance

Kelly Lavallee says all she wants is closure and to bring her son home. 

Dwayne Lavallee, 21, was last seen Sept. 22, 2018, while fuelling up in Ebb and Flow First Nation

Dwayne Lavallee was last seen on the afternoon of Sept. 22, 2018, in Ebb and Flow First Nation. (Submitted by RCMP)

Kelly Lavallee says all she wants is closure and to bring her son home. 

Her son, Dwayne Lavallee, has been missing for just shy of one year. The 21-year-old was last seen gassing up his vehicle at a store in Ebb and Flow First Nation, Man., about 185 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, on Sept. 22, 2018. 

His family hasn't stopped searching.

"I myself, my husband and my family — we need the closure," Lavallee told CBC News from her home in Skownan First Nation. "I'm hoping we are closing in."

Days after he was last seen, Dwayne's vehicle was found north of Ste. Rose du Lac, about 40 kilometres west of Ebb and Flow, at the end of a dead-end road. That led to what RCMP described as large-scale ground and air searches in the days and weeks that followed. 

His family, however, continued scouring the area around Ebb and Flow through the fall and into the spring and summer, through rough and sometimes wet, swampy terrain. 

"The grass is pretty long. The weeds you have to walk through — it's pretty hard," Kelly Lavalee said.

The expenses involved in the search are another challenge, she said.

"We've over-exhausted all of our funds just going back and forth" between her home in Skownan and the area around Ebb and Flow, about 115 kilometres south.

"When I travel down that way, I do stop and look around," she said. "Same thing around where the vehicle was located."

She said her family still has a hard time coming to terms with the disappearance and is still grieving.

"Still very hard," said Lavallee. "My family … they break down."

Family and volunteers have conducted several searches for Dwayne Lavallee over the past year. (Bring Dwayne Lavallee Home/Facebook)

In May, RCMP said they had interviewed more than 80 people in connection with Dwayne's disappearance. It's still considered an active missing person investigation, according to RCMP.

But Lavallee said she's heard stories and rumours from people in the area that suggest her son is dead.

"Somebody knows something out there," she said. "They know where he is, they know what happened to him, and I just hope somebody comes forward." 

RCMP have described Dwayne as six feet two inches tall and about 200 pounds, with a tattoo of a small cross on his left hand and a tattoo of the words "can't stop" on his right arm.

"We continue to urge anyone who may have information to come forward and contact police," RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre told CBC News in an email. 

Lavallee said her family is planning another large search of the area on Sept. 21 — exactly one year since she last heard from her son via via text message.

The family will be co-ordinating efforts on a Facebook page they have set up, but already know they will be seeking people with quads to lend a hand, as well as donations of food and water for the searchers. 

She said she hopes her family is getting closer to find Dwayne, but thinks someone still holds the key to his disappearance. 

Roughly two dozen people attended a rally and march in Winnipeg in November 2018 in support of the search for Dwayne Lavallee. (John Einarson/CBC )

"The silence must be just killing the person that knows something," said Lavallee. 

Anyone with information on the disappearance of Dwayne Lavallee is asked to call Ste. Rose du Lac RCMP at 204-447-3082 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

About the Author

Riley Laychuk is CBC's reporter based in Brandon, covering rural Manitoba. Share your story ideas, tips and feedback: