Nfld. & Labrador

Canning family prays for breakthrough in case of missing Bridgeport man

It's been a month since Andy Canning went missing on New World Island, and his brother says the family still knows absolutely nothing.

Andy Canning, 70, has been missing since May

Friends and family read prayers and sang traditional Newfoundland songs at the vigil on Thursday night. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

The family of missing 70-year-old Andy Canning is praying for a breakthrough in the month-long disappearance.

The Canning family hosted a candle-light vigil on the wharf in Bridgeport Thursday night.

Canning's family told the crowd they weren't giving up on their search, even if they have learned nothing since the afternoon Andy Canning went missing.

"I know it's been a month, I know it's a long time, but I believe he's out there somewhere and we need him brought home," said Maxine Canning-Boyde, Andy's younger sister.

Andy Canning was the fifth child in a family of nine. (Missing Person:Andrew Canning/Facebook)

"We're praying that closure will come. We're praying that some solution will be found. We're praying that our brother will be found."

More than a hundred people stood on the small community's wharf for the vigil. Harvey Canning, one of Andy's brothers, said he was not calling the service a memorial, because their search efforts aren't ending.

Missed call was 1st sign

Police say Andy Canning was last seen in the community of Valley Pond, about six kilometres away from Bridgeport, at 7:30 p.m. on May 28.

Harvey Canning said family believe Andy took his usual walk that day, and it wasn't strange for him to be walking through neighbouring communities in the New World Island area.

But Andy missed a nightly phone call with his 94-year-old mother that night, which set off alarms for the family.

"In the last 40 years, he never failed to call her," Harvey Canning said.  "This particular Tuesday night he did not return, and therefore starts the mystery of his disappearance."

More than a hundred people attended the candle-light vigil on the wharf in Bridgeport. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Andy Canning had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to his siblings. However, they say he had reached a "balanced" life, was having success with medications, and his behaviour remained healthy up until his disappearance.

Hundreds of residents from the area have joined the family's search, according to Harvey Canning, but they've learned nothing since the day he went missing.

"We do not have one shred of information that will give us any clue as to what happened. No evidence whatsoever," he said.

The older brother said the family knows what Andy was wearing — a Montreal Canadiens hat, and a black outfit — but there's a complete lack of other information.

"That's what's so daunting and haunting for us," he said.

Harvey Canning, left, and his sister, Maxine Canning-Boyde, pose for a photo on the wharf in Bridgeport. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Despite the lack of progress, Harvey Canning thanked the volunteers at the vigil Thursday night, as well as the RCMP, local fire departments, and search and rescue teams.

"Only in Newfoundland would time have stood still, literally, and all the people engaged in this search for our brother Andy," he said.

At this point, it seems fruitless, it seems hopeless.- Maxine Canning-Boyde

"The people have been so kind and generous and loving and giving and praying. It's been just unbelievable. Unspeakable. A simple thank you is totally inadequate."

Maxine Canning-Boyde told the crowd she felt particularly close to Andy, in part because they were so close in age. She said she felt that relationship deepened after Andy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This month has been particularly hard on her.

"It's indescribable, actually. It's heart-wrenching. It's very difficult to deal with emotionally and physically," she said. 

This security camera footage is the last image of Andy Canning taken before his disappearance, according to his family. Searchers have combed through trails, beaches and wharves in the area but have found no clues. (Missing Person:Andrew Canning/Facebook)

"Not sleeping, not being able to function normally. because your mind is saturated, your mind is consumed with finding Andy. And the fact that we don't know what happened, or where he might be, is so devastating."

She said Andy was making plans for the future; he was hoping to visit her and her mother near St. John's, and had just made a commitment to the Salvation Army.

"If we could find a body, bring him home for a decent burial, and be able to try to put closure to this, it would be so helpful, and so comforting," she said.

"But at this point, it seems fruitless, it seems hopeless."

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About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.