Mandy Metallic (and Dean Martin) looks over newspaper articles about her son’s disappearance at her hotel room in Sackville, where she has been staying for the past two weeks. Twenty-year-old Chris Metallic hasn’t been heard from since the early-morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 25 and the family continues to look for him, despite the official RCMP search being suspended last week. TOWER PHOTO
The RCMP search for missing Mount Allison student Chris Metallic may have been called off last Wednesday but his family is continuing to do everything they can to find Chris and bring him home.
“We’re trying any and every avenue we can,” said Murray Isaac, Chris’ stepfather, on Monday evening after another day of searching the marshes, wooded areas, people’s backyards, wherever they can think of to find their boy. “We’re not giving up.”
The 20-year-old’s disappearance more than two weeks ago has left the community, the RCMP, searchers, friends and family searching for answers. No one has heard from Chris since the early-morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 25.
Mandy Metallic, Chris’ mom, said her son’s unexplained disappearance is a parent’s worst nightmare. She is angry, scared, frustrated, sad . . . so many emotions and so many uncertainties.
“I have so many thoughts, so many questions going through my head. Is he alive? Where is he? It’s all these ‘what ifs’ . . .”
Chris was said to have left a party on Allison Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Nov. 25. Mandy says the last witness that saw Chris was a friend of his who said he spoke to him near the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Bridge Street at around 2 a.m. Chris had told the friend he was on his way home, heading back to his house on Maple Avenue. But he never made it there.
Another witness reported he may have saw Chris walking along the Upper Aboujagne Road, nearly 15 kilometres away from downtown Sackville, more than three hours later. Several days later, footwear that was worn by Metallic the night he went missing was found in that same area. And footprints that led searchers to the Tantramar River along that same route were also recently confirmed to be his.
Although the first week of the search was concentrated in the downtown area and the university campus, with aerial and ground crews making the rounds and looking for clues, the second week saw divers brought in from the RCMP’s underwater recovery unit to search a section of the Tantramar River in Upper Sackville.
But the efforts came up empty and the searchers aren’t any closer to finding out any more about Chris’ whereabouts.
Mandy has no idea what happened to her son - but she continues to have doubts that he would wander so far from town, to a remote area, with no cell phone, and very little clothes on his back.
“It is possible he walked all the way out there, but for what reason . . .it just doesn’t make sense. It’s really frustrating.”
Chris could have been taken, said Mandy, something she considers as a real possibility.
“I think somebody’s involved, somebody knows something.”
Dean Martin, Chris’ biological father, says the scenario of his son walking that distance, in the cold, after leaving a party at that time of night is tough to digest.
“You just don’t walk 12 kilometres away, and then walk off the face of the earth with no clues.”
Martin said the water was searched thoroughly with no new evidence to suggest he was even in the river. He did point out that Route 940 isn’t too far away from Chris’ last known location and someone could have picked him up there.
“He just disappeared, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Mandy said there is also the slim chance that Chris has run away but that would be completely out of character for her son. There has also been no sign of activity from his bank account since he went missing.
“If by some small chance he did run away, we just want him to call or come home,” she said. “If you want your space, that’s fine. Just let us know you’re okay.”
Mandy is also taking into account the very real possibility that Chris may no longer be alive. The family is bringing in cadaver dogs this week from Ottawa to search the area.
“If he is dead, we just want to bring him home,” she said. “He’s got siblings, he’s got so much family at home . . .”
In the meantime, the family-organized searches continue to get under way usually each morning starting at the Coastal Inn at about 8:30 a.m. If anyone wants to help, they can stop by and offer their assistance.
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The family says they are grateful for all the community support they’ve received so far since they arrived in Sackville.
“This town has been very generous,” said Isaac. “People have opened up their homes, brought in donations, businesses have supplied us with food, meals, donated hip waders, boots and gloves for the search. . . it’s beyond words how helpful people have been.”
Isaac said local residents have also been helping with the searches, joining in with the family members that remain in the area to continue looking for Chris.
They are searching anywhere and everywhere, including the marshes, the swamps, backyards, and other areas that the RCMP ground search didn’t cover, said Mandy.
“The RCMP, they have just been going on facts . . . not, what if he went this way?” says Mandy.
Isaac said they are appreciative of the RCMP’s search efforts, realizing that they have put all the resources they could into the case. But for the family, the search is not over.
“My wife has said, ‘we are not leaving here until we find him.’”
Martin said they will “leave no stone unturned” as they look for clues into their son’s disappearance.
Mandy said she’s been getting dozens of phone calls from mediums, who say they want to provide her with information on her son’s whereabouts. But she said it’s tough hearing some of the gruesome details that some of these mediums are saying they know about her son and it’s difficult to decipher whether they are giving her information she can trust.
Chris, a 20-year-old, third-year Mount A student, is described by his friends as a “happy go-lucky guy,” who has never caused any trouble and was always the mediator when things were going wrong between his fellow students.
His mom says he loved to play basketball and was into track & field in high school, and was a youth worker at a summer camp when he wasn’t in school.
When she got the phone call more than two weeks ago that her son couldn’t be found, she said it felt like time had stopped.
“Hearing the words ‘Chris is missing,’ I’ll never forget it.”
As she grew tired of waiting to hear back from RCMP and others about what was going on with the search, she and her husband jumped in her car that night and made the drive from her home in Listuguj First Nation in Quebec to Sackville. They have been here ever since.
“We’re frustrated,” said Isaac. “The pain is getting deeper. Winter is coming . . .”
Mandy pleads for the public to come forward if they know anything about her son’s disappearance, even if they want to remain anonymous. The family is offering a $5,000 reward for any clues that might lead them to Chris’ whereabouts.
Described as aboriginal, six feet tall, 180 lbs, with short dark brown hair and brown eyes, Metallic was said to be wearing a shiny bright blue zip-up hoodie, jeans and flip-flops when he went missing.
“If there’s anybody out there with any information, please come forward,” she said. “We’re desperate. Any information, whether he’s dead or alive . . . it’s a mystery we want to solve. If anybody has anything at all, let the police know.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-888-506-RCMP (7267) or N.B. Crime Stoppers online at crimenb.ca or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). The RCMP is continuing to investigate any tips or leads that come in.
A Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BringChrisMetallicHome?fref=ts) has also been set up to help coordinate and share information on the efforts to locate Metallic, and to collect donations.