Manitoba

2 years after he vanished, Eduardo Balaquit's family, police plead for someone to come forward

The family of Eduardo Balaquit is pleading for information two years after his unexplained disappearance.

Police ask people in rural areas between Winnipeg and Arborg to watch for anything unusual

Eduardo Balaquit's family last heard from him on June 4, 2018, at around 6 p.m., his son says. (Edward Balaquit/Facebook)

The family of Eduardo Balaquit is pleading for information two years after his unexplained disappearance.

Balaquit, 59, was last seen between 6 and 9 p.m. on June 4, 2018, near 380 Keewatin St., where he was supposed to be doing his regular janitorial work.

His van was found nearby the next day with the passenger window smashed in, a cellphone on the seat and personal belongings inside.

His son, Edward Balaquit, said Wednesday the agony he feels today is the same as what he endured two years ago.

"We still want him home. We still have a lot of questions," he said.

"The pain is still there — it's never went away."

Investigators once referred to Eduardo as "very likely" a homicide victim. He was referred to Thursday as a "victim of crime."

'Someone, somewhere knows'

The Winnipeg Police Service is issuing another call for information "because we know someone, somewhere knows more about what happened to Eduardo," said Sgt. Wade McDonald of the homicide unit.

"We've taken important steps forward with this investigation, but we appeal to the community to help us close this case for Eduardo's family — for the community. We need your help."

Police believe a blue Ford Escape SE, with a model year between 2010 and 2015, was in the area of Balaquit's workplace the night of his disappearance.

Winnipeg police released this stock image of a blue Ford Escape they say matches the description of a vehicle they believe is of interest in Eduardo Balaquit's disappearance. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service)

The vehicle later travelled to the Arborg area, where police, Eduardo's family and friends, and strangers have searched extensively. Officers believe evidence related to Balaquit's whereabouts are in the rural community or regions between Winnipeg and Arborg.

"Investigators would like to remind the public, including those in rural areas, to be aware of any unusual items they may find in the area. Items that may seem insignificant to the casual observer may have significant relevance to the investigation," a Winnipeg police news release said.

Edward Balaquit said the family keeps a Facebook page running and speaks regularly with police, but their own search efforts have wound down.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't do any more searches because we don't know where to look," he said.

"We would like to look, but without being directed to a location we don't really know what to do."

He said the last credible tip they heard from police was regarding the blue SUV.

Edward Balaquit visits the spot where his father's van was last seen in this 2019 file photo. The spot is beside the business where Eduardo was working. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

His family remains hopeful someone will speak out. Edward said he isn't focused on punishment — he just wants his dad back.

"Obviously someone knows something," he said. "It's difficult because there's a lot of milestones that happen in our lives that we want my dad to be part of."

Edward said he recently had a daughter, who is seven weeks old.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson

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