Surrey Mounties have resurrected one of their oldest missing persons cases on the slim chance someone might know what became of Whalley resident Lucy Ann Johnson.
Her husband Marvin Johnson reported her missing on May 14, 1965, but police believe she may have already been missing for years prior to that, considering her neighbour last saw her in September 1961, in the 10300-block of 145A Street.
Suspecting foul play, police excavated the Johnson's backyard but didn't uncover any evidence to support that theory. Marvin later remarried and lived out his days in the area until he died of natural causes in the late 1990s, without providing any more clues as to what became of Lucy, if he even knew.
"I'm not convinced he was responsible for her disappearance," Const. Mike Halskov, of the Surrey RCMP Missing Person Unit, said of Mr. Johnson. "There could have been other reasons she left him."
Lucy Johnson (nee: Carvell) was born on Oct. 14, 1935 in Skagway, Alaska, of First Nations descent. If she's alive, she'll be 77.
Born to Margaret and Andrew Carvell, Lucy lived in Bennett, Alaska from 1935 to 1938, in Pennington, Alaska from 1939 to 1943 and then in Carncross, Yukon, from 1943 to 1952. She dropped contact with her family after leaving Carncross in 1953 and married Marvin Johnson, who worked as a first mate on a tugboat, in Blaine, Washington in April of 1954.
The couple had two children. Linda was born in 1954, and Daniel in 1955. Daniel is deceased but Linda, who lives locally, still wonders what became of her mother.
The Johnsons moved several times in New Westminster before setting in Surrey in 1955 or 1956. Lucy worked at St. Paul's Hospital for a spell, and in the early 1960s was apparently in regular contact with the Catholic Aid Society. When she disappeared, she was five feet five inches tall, 110 pounds and had a dark complexion and dark brown hair.
The Surrey RCMP has compared DNA samples with those from unidentified human remains held by the BC Coroner's Service, but has not found a match.
Halskov has conduct of Lucy's case. He hopes anyone with information that could possibly shed light on what happened to her with call him at 604-599-0502, no matter how insignificant the information might see to them.
Lucy's is not the oldest missing persons case in the Surrey RCMP's books. The oldest is that of Humphrey 'Albert' Wilkinson, who would be 85 today. Halskov is in charge of his file, too.
Wilkinson was 30 years old when he was reported missing on Jan. 29, 1957. He worked as a carpenter at the Martin Paper Company in New Westminster but didn't pick up his last pay cheque. He lived alone in North Surrey with his dog, liked to wear expensive clothes and was an avid cartoonist. He also worked part-time as a commercial fisherman.
The Surrey RCMP Missing Persons Unit actually received some leads to pursue last year after dusting the cobwebs off Wilkinson's case. After reintroducing his story to the public eye, police heard from a man in Montreal who thinks he might have bought property from Wilkinson in the 1960s.
The missing persons unit plans to make a number of monthly public appeals for clues to help solve historic cases here in Surrey.
Sgt. Rick Burns said some of the missing may have had medical or substance abuse issues, were running from their problems or were involved in child custody battles. "Some have simply just vanished," he said. Police hope stories like these will attract tips that could bring closure to the missing persons' loved ones, or perhaps even reunite some of them.
"While the overwhelming majority of people are located within a short time of being reported missing," Burns noted, "some of these cases go back years even decades."
© Copyright 2013