Nearly a year after Dwayne Lavallee disappeared, RCMP appear to have reignited the investigation, re-interviewing people of interest, even though a purported breakthrough piece of evidence may only be a rumour.
The 21-year-old from Skownan, Man. was last seen Sept. 22, 2018 in Ebb and Flow First Nation. His vehicle was found four days later in the RM of Lakeshore, prompting a huge RCMP-led search of the area.
RCMP said they have interviewed more than 100 people. In May, they held another large-scale air and ground search, but once again it yielded nothing.
But his family refuses to give up, and is searching for any leads that could bring them closer to bringing Dwayne’s remains home.
Sister Chantel Lavallee said her parents still go out every weekend to search for their son.
"That’s not a way to spend your summer, searching for your baby," she said.
"I can see how tired they are and I can see how hurt they are, but I know my parents are not going to give up."
Since the search began, tips and information have made their way to the Lavallee family. They’re doing a bit of their own investigating, through a Facebook page called Bring Dwayne Lavallee home. His mother Kelly Lavallee said many tipsters insist on being anonymous.
"I don’t know why people are so scared, but many do say they got threatened to not talk," she said.
They’ve learned of new evidence, some of which has been handed over to RCMP. Another rumoured piece of evidence hasn’t been confirmed.
Now, they said RCMP have asked the family not to post about the developments on Facebook, even though they are the first clues in months.
"It’s all we have right now, and it’s been so long. It’s time to bring him home," Chantel said.
"That’s all we want, and that’s all we’ve been asking for — to find him, so we can bring him home and give him a proper burial."
Chantel said several people have been re-interviewed by RCMP in the past few weeks.
RCMP would not confirm if the rumoured piece of evidence is real, or if it’s been ruled out.
An interview request with the constable in charge of the investigation was not accommodated, nor did he respond to questions the Free Press sent Monday, Sept. 9 about recent action on the case.
"It would be incorrect to report that there's a (piece of evidence) circulating as this could impact any criminal investigation," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre.
"If you have knowledge of this (evidence) and if it were to exist, it should be brought to the attention of our Major Crime Services if not already done so."
The Lavallees also want people to get in touch — with RCMP or with them.
On the Bring Dwayne Lavallee Home Facebook page, Kelly posted their address: Box 1, Skownan, Man. ROL 1Y0.
"Ok, you got away with hiding my son this long. Now tell us the location, just write me a letter with the location," she wrote. "I want to bring my boy home and all of you will still get away with this."
They’re planning another wide-scale search Sept. 21 around the perimeter of Ebb and Flow, Dwayne’s last known location.
"I just have to keep going," Kelly said. "He’s my youngest son, my baby boy… We are still searching, we’re not going to stop. What would be good is if someone would give us a location, an anonymous tip."
Tessa Vanderhart is interested in everything, but especially local news, health policy and statistics.