‘Is he still alive?’

Family and police plea with public to help find Donald Petterson who is still missing after 17 years

Donald Petterson went missing 17 years ago.

Chad Petterson was 28 years old when he dropped his dad off at the ferry terminal so he could go look at a retirement property on Vancouver Island.

That was in 1996, and it was the last he saw of his father.

Police and family are once again appealing to the public to help find the whereabouts of Donald Petterson, who would now be 74.

After leaving by ferry, Petterson checked into the Arbutus Hotel in Courtenay.

Over the following days, he was seen in and around the Courtenay area, and on June 9, 1996, he was seen near Port Alberni.

There have be various unconfirmed sightings since then, however, he remains missing.

Police from Surrey and Vancouver Island have engaged in a search that includes interviews with friends, family members, and associates, as well as government and financial institutions.

So far, it’s all been to no avail.

Chad Petterson thinks his dad may have been robbed on the island and put up a fight.

The elder Petterson had money, and wore jewelry, which Chad thinks might have attracted a bad element.

“I’ve unfortunately come to terms with it,” Chad said in an interview with The Leader Tuesday. “But there’s a part of me that wants to know exactly what happened. Is he still alive?”

After dropping him off at the ferry, Chad knew something was wrong when his dad didn’t show up for work. He worked at Overwaitea Foods and was three years away from full retirement.

Family members say he was a devoted husband and very much involved in the lives of his grandchildren and would never have intentionally left the family. There is no history of depression or suicidal tendencies. At the time of disappearance he was described as a Caucasian male, 5’11”, 178 lbs, with a light complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes. He would now be 74 years old.

The Surrey RCMP Missing Persons Unit currently has conduct of this file. Investigators are hoping that by bringing his disappearance out into the light someone may recall some information that can assist them and provide some answers to Petterson’s surviving family. Donald Petterson’s wife, Patricia, passed away in 2011 never knowing what happened to her husband.

Anyone with information about this case, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is asked to call the Surrey RCMP Missing Person Unit at 604-599-0502 and ask for Cpl. Barb Creighton. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

@diakiw