5 years later: friend and roommate of missing Chris Metallic looks back

Chris Metallic's friend and former roommate, Daniel Legere, said the disappearance was and remains an "emotionally shattering" experience, but he always marks the anniversary by reaching out to mutual friends of Metallic's to check in and reminisce.

Chris Metallic has not been heard from since November 25, 2012 when he left a house party in Sackville

People driving in to the town of Sackville from the Trans-Canada Highway are met with this billboard. There are smaller signs on telephone poles also. (Tori Weldon/CBC )

Daniel Legere remembers Chris Metallic as the first friend he made at Mount Allison University. Sharing an interest in anthropology, they took classes together and were roommates.

But Legere, now living in Ottawa, said nothing could prepare him for the disappearance of his dear friend in the early morning hours of November 25, 2012. Metallic left a house party with borrowed flip flops. 

Police received a call two and a half hours later about a person matching Metallic's description walking in the area of the Upper Aboujagne Road. Soon after, a pair of flip flops were found near route 940. RCMP confirmed they were worn by the missing man.

Metallic has not been seen since.

"His disappearance was emotionally shattering to me."

Leger, now 26, was 21 years old at the time.

"You never picture yourself experiencing something like this so my first reaction was shock and denial."

The urgency of searching for his friend, and helping police with the investigation left little time for mourning. 

"One of the hardest parts of coping with his disappearance is accepting uncertainty and the lack of closure," said Legere.  "The lack of closure surrounding his disappearance makes it even more difficult to move on."

Fifth year anniversary since disappearance 

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of Metallic's disappearance. Legere said this time of year is always difficult for all of Metallic's friends and family.

But over the last five years, Leger said even though he and others affected by Metallic's disappearance have moved away from Sackville, they still keep in touch.

"(We) reach out to each other every year on the anniversary of his disappearance to let each other know that we're all still there for each other if anyone needs to talk about it." 

Four hours north of Sackville is Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation in Quebec, Metallic's home town. His younger brother Spencer Issac said he'll be heading there, "to be with the family." 

According to Mandy Metallic's facebook page, she was back in Sackville three weeks ago, still searching for her son.

Active case

Sgt. Paul Gagné, Sackville RCMP detachment commander, said the case is still an active one.

In September a RCMP underwater recovery team searched in the area Metallic went missing.  Gagné said even now, tips come in.

"It's fair to say it's still high profile in the community."

Professor Patricia Kelly Spurles agrees.

"I still think of him often."

Metallic was one of her students when he went missing. She cancelled class when a concerned student told her search teams were gathering to look for the young man.

"We thought we'd find him alive."

She said she packed her car full of supplies, telling herself, "if we brought enough stuff to stay warm...if we could just stay out long enough, we'd find him."

Even though he hasn't been found, Kelly Spurles said Metallic has had a lasting effect on the community. "I think it's important to think of how people responded to his disappearance by pulling together and trying to provide more resources people in that age group."

She credits the formation of an aboriginal support group at the university as "an important legacy of that time."

Posters line streets, five years on 

A billboard with Metallic's information greets people driving into the small town, and other smaller ones dot power poles through out the community, evidence that five years has not erased Metallic's presence from Sackville.

Legere describes his friend as kind, gentle, and "rather reserved." but yet he "would jump at any opportunity to go out and socialize." 

There are at least 27 open investigations in New Brunswick, one dating back more than 40 years. According to the NB RCMP officers responded to 1,287 missing person reports in 2016, but the vast majority of the people were found quickly and safe.

The New Brunswick RCMP does not have a comprehensive list of every person listed as missing in the province, but some are listed on the NB RCMP major crimes page, while a more comprehensive list can be found at the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains web site.

If you have information relating to the disappearance of Chris Metallic, or anyone else contact the RCMP, Crime Stoppers or the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.

About the Author

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.