Victoria police have confirmed they are testing the DNA of a Surrey man to rule out the possibility he may be Michael Dunahee, who mysteriously vanished from an elementary school playground more than 22 years ago.
Posting on a canucks.com forum, the man said he was contacted by Victoria police because they had received tips that he bears a “remarkable resemblance” to Michael, the four-year-old who disappeared on March 24, 1991, with his parents nearby. He would be 27 today.
“I was contacted by Victoria police at my old work … and obviously I didn’t belive [sic] them at first,” the man wrote.
“They told me the michael dunahee story and explained that people have gave them tips or whatever, and that I resemble him, I match his age etc. so they asked me to meet with them. So I did last week, they got my blood and told me they didn’t know exactly when results are coming but will contact me when they knew.”
He said he went to many different schools and moved around a lot when he was young, but can’t remember much from before Grade 1.
Constable Mike Russell of the Victoria Police Department confirmed police had collected DNA from a man on the mainland, but only to rule him out as Michael. There have been at least a few other such DNA tests over the years.
“We have absolutely no information to suggest that it is Michael; in fact we have lots to suggest that it is not,” Constable Russell said. “This is standard procedure in this case and we do this to exclude people from the list as well. It shows our commitment to the investigation and that we take every tip seriously.”
For more than two decades, Michael’s disappearance has been more mystery than crime. The young boy was within metres of his parents – his mother was playing touch football, his father standing on a rocky outcropping – and there were dozens of other adults present. It seems nobody saw what happened. Police have received tips and reported sightings from around the world.
Bruce Dunahee, Michael’s father, said police notified him and his wife, Crystal, of the latest DNA testing last week.
“They don’t think there’s anything to it, but they’re just being thorough,” Mr. Dunahee said Wednesday.
He said he was heartened by the fact police are still active in their investigation after all this time.
“It’s been since ’91 – 22 years – and they’re still looking, so that’s a good sign. Meanwhile, we haven’t given up hope either.”