Ontario man missing since 1977 found alive in U.S.
Published Monday, August 25, 2014 9:46AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 25, 2014 6:35PM EDT
An Ontario man who went missing 37 years ago and was declared dead in 1986 has been found alive and living in Oklahoma.
Ontario Provincial Police said Ronald Stan, then 32, was reported missing following a barn fire on Sept. 29, 1977 in the former Township of East Williams, now part of the municipality of North Middlesex, approximately 200 kilometres southwest of Toronto.
It was a memorable incident for retired firefighter Jim Walsh.
“I remember that one quite well because we dug through dead pigs and so-on with our boots on, and had done our very best to find human remains,” he said. “And there was none in that barn.”
In 1986, there was still no sign of Stan, so he was declared deceased by an Ontario court.
Last month, Middlesex County OPP were conducting a routine audit and decided to reopen the case, using new technology to help.
After an investigation, they found Stan alive and living in Oklahoma under the assumed identity of Jeff Walton, 69.
“We were trying to account for the disappearance for Mr. Stan,” said Const. Laurie Houghton of the Middlesex County OPP. “One thing led to another and we found him in the state of Oklahoma.”
Houghton said she couldn’t speak to the man’s motives for disappearing, but that the affected families and U.S. authorities had been notified of the details.
The case is now closed, and police say Stan is not facing any charges in Canada.
With a report by CTV Kitchener’s Nicole Lampa