June 19, 2018

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Family of missing man frustrated by reports of threatening note found at site of his disappearance

Eduardo Balaquit's family says it has thus far been unable to secure details on a mysterious, threatening note reportedly found at a Winnipeg business the 59-year-old man was cleaning the night he disappeared.

“It’s amazingly frustrating. I’m not really sure what to make of it. They’re not telling me anything about the note,” his son, Edward Balaquit, said Monday.

Eduardo Balaquit has been missing since the evening of June 4, when he left for work at Westcon Equipment and Rentals Ltd., where he has been employed as an evening contract cleaner for roughly 20 years.

The note was reportedly discovered the morning of June 5, around the same time Balaquit's van was found abandoned in a nearby parking lot. The van’s passenger window was smashed, some belongings were scattered on the ground, and his cellphone was found inside.

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Eduardo Balaquit's family says it has thus far been unable to secure details on a mysterious, threatening note reportedly found at a Winnipeg business the 59-year-old man was cleaning the night he disappeared.

"It’s amazingly frustrating. I’m not really sure what to make of it. They’re not telling me anything about the note," his son, Edward Balaquit, said Monday.

SUPPLIED PHOTO</p><p>Missing 59-year-old man, Eduardo Balaquit.</p>

SUPPLIED PHOTO

Missing 59-year-old man, Eduardo Balaquit.

Eduardo Balaquit has been missing since the evening of June 4, when he left for work at Westcon Equipment and Rentals Ltd., where he has been employed as an evening contract cleaner for roughly 20 years.

The note was reportedly discovered the morning of June 5, around the same time Balaquit's van was found abandoned in a nearby parking lot. The van’s passenger window was smashed, some belongings were scattered on the ground, and his cellphone was found inside.

The message reportedly left at Westcon, located on the 300 block of Keewatin Street, makes threats against the business without naming individual staff, according to a CityNews Winnipeg report.

The company’s security records show the building’s alarm was switched off shortly after 6 p.m., indicating Balaquit likely arrived at work and started cleaning. The following morning, when staff arrived, it was discovered the alarm hadn’t been reactivated and only a small part of the building had been cleaned.

Representatives of the Winnipeg Police Service and Westcon both declined comment Monday when approached by the Free Press and the Balaquit family.

"I understand they have to regulate what information goes out there. We’re trying to stay strong and not butt in and hinder the investigation, but there is a lot of frustration," Edward Balaquit said. "We’re not sure if we’re getting anywhere or if we’re getting closer.

"We’re under the belief he’s alive out there and waiting for us to come to him," he said, adding the idea a threatening note was left behind around the time his father disappeared leaves him a little unsettled.

Volunteers plan a search for missing man Eduardo Balaquit in Winnipeg Sunday.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Volunteers plan a search for missing man Eduardo Balaquit in Winnipeg Sunday.

"If that’s the case, maybe my dad got caught up in something that he was never involved in — just the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t know what to make out of it, in all honesty. All we can do is focus on trying to find him and bring him home."

As the search stretches into its second week, the family is becoming more desperate to find answers. Edward Balaquit said while it’s difficult not having access to requested information, he and his family are trying to have faith in the police investigation.

On Saturday, a GoFundMe webpage was set up to help fund the search for Eduardo Balaquit. As of Monday afternoon, it had raised $745 against a goal of $5,000.

The support from the community has been overwhelming thus far, Edward Balaquit said, with members of the public consistently volunteering to help with the family’s near-constant search. In addition, community groups such as the Bear Clan Patrol and 204 Neighbourhood Watch have also been assisting in the efforts.

"There’s been a lot of family, a lot of friends, but also a lot of people that don’t know us personally, be it community members or businesses, that have been amazingly helpful," he said.

"Everyone is spreading the word for us. Volunteers that have no responsibility to do anything are coming out and helping us. They’re making our lives a part of their lives."

Search parties are being organized out of the Maples Community Centre on the 400 block of Adsum Drive, daily at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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History

Updated on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 6:41 PM CDT: adds photos

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