WHALLEY — The Surrey RCMP Missing Person's Unit has launched a fresh appeal for tips investigators hope will at least bring some closure to Donald Petterson's family.
The Whalley man went missing 17 years ago. He'd now be 74, if he's still alive.
"It'd be nice to have closure, for my family's sake," said the missing man's only son, Chad.
Chad Petterson, 45, lives in North Delta and has two older sisters, Donna and Lisa.
Their mom Patricia died in 2011, never knowing what happened to her husband.
She last heard from Donald on June 3rd, 1996, when he called her from Courtenay to tell her he was looking for retirement property on Vancouver Island and was staying at the Arbutus Hotel.
The couple had been married for 30 years and Donald, who worked at Overwaitea Foods, was but three years' shy from receiving a full retirement package.
His children considered him to be a devoted family man and said he exhibited no history of depression or suicidal tendencies. "We're close and tight," Chad said of the Petterson family.
After phoning his wife, Donald was seen in the Courtenay area over the next few days and family friends spotted him at the Cumberland Hotel on June 6th. The last official sighting was on June 9th, 1996, in the Port Alberni area.
Chad says his dad was likely on foot. "He could have got robbed, hit by a car. Honestly, I don't know."
Chad was 28 when his dad went missing. "It was a tough time for me and my mother," he recalled. "I had to take over the payments for the house."
Chad still thinks about his dad a lot, he said. He named his own son, now 13, after him. "My son has never seen his grandpa," he lamented.
Police ask anyone with any information on what happened to Donald Petterson to contact Cpl. Barb Creighton, of the missing person's unit, at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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