Police dismiss Milwaukee link
Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, January 08, 2009
Victoria police, and their American counterparts in Milwaukee, Wisc., have
dismissed a link between missing Michael Dunahee and a possible U.S. child
"We want everyone to understand we aren't concerned with this," said Det-Sgt.
Al Cochrane, the Victoria police officer who has investigated hundreds of tips
on the Dunahee case the last few years. "But we are still working on the Dunahee
file and it's still an active investigation."
Michael Dunahee was four when he disappeared on March 24, 1991, from a park
at what is now University Canada West in Victoria.
Victoria police Sgt. Grant Hamilton checks documents related to the Michael
Dunahee missing person case that are on file at the police station.
Darren Stone, Times Colonist
Milwaukee TV station TMJ4 reported Tuesday that U.S. police found a missing
person poster of Michael inside the Milwaukee home of Vernon Seitz, 62, who
confessed just before dying to killing two children in 1958.
Search warrants revealed police found "missing" flyers of small children from
nearby states and communities, along with news articles of missing children.
Milwaukee police never contacted their Victoria counterparts, and both
sought to distance themselves from the story yesterday.
"We have no information to substantiate any allegation that the deceased
was involved in any missing children cases or homicides of children," said
spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz. "We have exhausted all possible angles in this
case. If we receive credible information that warrants investigation, we will
The Milwaukee branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to
Michael's mother, Crystal, said Tuesday the finding seemed insignificant.
"It's a poster," she said. "We sent out hundreds and thousands of posters
Canada and North America."
It's not unusual for pedophiles to collect posters of missing children, said
Cochrane. For example, Victoria police are talking to police in Regina about
Darren Philpott, a now dead sexual offender who videotaped his abuse of
numerous children, in an effort to determine why he had a Michael Dunahee
button and missing poster in his home.
But the real impact of the Milwaukee story will be felt on Cochrane's desk,
where he is expecting hundreds of new tips as a result of heavy international
The Milwaukee tip is number 575 since March 24, 2006, when police put out a
new call for help on the case. Every tip needs to be individually investigated
and cleared by Cochrane, who works the file part time on top of duties in
It is laborious work. Prior to an interview with the Times Colonist yesterday,
Cochrane took a phone call from a woman who said she'd dreamed about a
suspicious house and felt it was linked to the Dunahee case.
Nonetheless, Cochrane said police remain closer than ever to solving the case.
He said they've progressed on a number of active leads in the past few months,
have "strong circumstantial" evidence, and their prime suspects remain alive.
In particular, Cochrane wants to find a woman who worked for a real estate
company in 1991, with an office at the corner of Kings Road and Quadra Street.
She initially came forward to talk to police but has since been unreachable and
may have useful information. "If I could find that woman I'd be really happy,"
-- With a file from Canwest News Service