By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Every day people across Canada go missing.
There are many reasons, including abduction, for people disappearing. These include amnesia, dementia or another medical condition, or someone simply choosing to vanish. Whatever the reason, the person’s family and friends are bound to have feelings of anxiety, worry and pain.
And with every passing day a loved one is not heard from, those feelings are likely to increase in intensity.
In most cases, the person who is missing is found within a few days, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
According to statistics on the website canadamissing.ca, there were approximately 28,000 missing persons in Canada in 2016, with around 6,700 of those in Ontario.
In about half of those cases, the reason the person went missing is unknown.
The next most suspected reason for people disappearing is runaways and wandering off.
People of all different races, ages, sexual orientation and professions can seemingly vanish into thin air.
Things are no different in Oshawa and Durham as police are still working on numerous missing persons cases, some with new leads and others where investigators are desperately seeking more information to help locate their target.
Perhaps the most infamous local missing persons case is that of Noreen Greenley.
Noreen was only 13 years old when she went missing on Saturday, Sept. 14, 1963 in Bowmanville.
After enjoying an evening of bowling with friends, Greenley was last seen running to catch a bus.
However, the bus driver reported the teenager was not standing at the stop when he drove by.
Police and volunteers scoured the area in search of Noreen over the next few weeks to no avail, and there has been no sight of her for the past 55 years.
In 2005, Durham Regional Police Service’s Homicide Unit revisited the case, but no tips were received.
A few years ago, a man told a relative of Greenley that his father had made a deathbed confession to abducting and killing the young girl.
The man alleged he put Greenley’s body in the trunk of his car, and buried it in the area of Highway 57 and Concession 8 north of Bowmanville.
In October 2018, Durham police investigators followed up on this tip in the area where the man claimed he had buried his car with Greenley in it.
Two trenches were dug – one was about 150 feet long and the other was about 100 feet long. Each trench went down seven feet and metal detectors were used along the way, which could penetrate another three feet in depth. No evidence was located.
Greenley is still considered missing, and the case is unsolved.
In Oshawa, investigators are still seeking the public’s help in locating 32-year-old Kevin Zapp, who has been missing since April 25, 2018.
Zapp was originally believed to be last seen around 5:30 p.m. in the area of Trowbridge Drive and Beatrice Street East in Oshawa.
However, police later confirmed Zapp was seen on camera trying to enter an apartment building at 222 Nonquon Road. He then left the building heading westbound on Nonquon Road through the building’s driveway. This is the last known spotting of Zapp.
Zapp is believed to have been wearing a blue Toronto Blue Jays hat or a black baseball hat with “Ambition” stitched in red on the front, a black sleeveless quilted diamond pattern zipped winter vest, and dark grey high-cut Timberland winter boots.
According to recent reports, Zapp left his father’s home on the day he went missing, leaving behind his cell phone, wallet and bank card.
A few weeks after his disappearance, a search party of around 50 to 60 people joined together to comb the streets and wooded areas for any sign of Zapp.
The group was assisted by Advanced Tactical Training Search and Rescue (ATTSAR), a group out of the Kitchener-Waterloo area that assists in searching for missing people free of charge.
Since then, police have continuously appealed to the public in hopes of gaining more insight into the incident.
Another recent case involves the disappearance of 32-year-old Addrienne McRobert in Oshawa.
She was last seen in the Olive Avenue and Court Street area on Jan. 14, 2019.
Police were advised that McRobert has gone missing in the past but not for this long of a period.
She is described as female, white, about 5′ tall, with a thin build, hazel eyes, dyed reddish shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a black hooded jacket with “Bench” written in white letters on the back, a black “K-Swiss” windbreaker, dark Guess jeans and tan winter moccasin boots.
A longstanding missing person case in Durham Region is that of Mark Garland.
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1996, family members reported Garland, born Jan. 21, 1969, missing after being concerned that they had not heard from him in a number of days.
The ensuing investigation determined that Garland was in Toronto in the days preceding his disappearance, and he was last seen in the city three weeks before his family reported him missing.
Garland has not been seen or heard from since Nov. 4, 1996, and is described as being 190 cm tall, 90 kg., brown hair and brown eyes.
Another case that has remained unsolved for decades is the disappearance of 18-year-old Jami Furnandiz.
Jami was last seen on Oct. 5, 1997 in Port Perry after dropping her child off at day care.
Later in the day, Furnandiz’ mother received a call from the daycare advising that her daughter had yet to pick up her two-year-old son.
At the time of her disappearance, Jami was wearing a black coloured jean jacket, blue jeans and black Doc Marten shoes.
In July 2018, Durham police said there was “no linkage” between Furnandiz’ disappearance and Adam Strong, the man accused of murdering two Oshawa women, Rori Hache, who went missing in 2017, and Kandis Fitzpatrick, who was last seen alive in 2008.
Not all missing person cases have a name attached to them.
On Friday, Oct. 27, 2006, a man discovered human remains while walking in a field near South Service Road and Holt Road in Clarington.
Officials from DRPS and the coroner’s office completed an archaeological dig of the area and located further remains, as well as a ladies watch.
Further investigation in 2010 revealed more remains, and new items, including a ladies gold ring, two diamonds, a multi-coloured short-sleeved shirt with a hood, and a portion of a pair of grey track pants.
Police believe the remains belong to a woman between the age of 18 to 30, and the remains were at the recovery scene between two and 10 years, or possibly longer.
A positive identification of the woman has yet to be made.
While having a friend or loved one missing is a heartbreaking situation, history shows there is always reason to keep hope alive.
In 2013, three women, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina DeJesus were discovered after being imprisoned for 11 years.
With help from neighbours, the three women were rescued, and reunited with their families.
More information on these missing person cases and others in Durham is available on the Durham Regional Police Service’s website at drps.ca.
Information can be provided to DRPS by calling 1-888-579-1520, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at durhamregioncrimestoppers.ca.