Skip to content

Ten years on: Still missing: Gods River teens Dwayne Ross and Sunshine Wood

To coincide with national Missing Children's Day May 25, the Canadian Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection is making a renewed effort to reawaken public interest in three long-cold in terms of new leads Northern Manitoba missing person
GB201410305289992AR.jpg
To coincide with national Missing Children's Day May 25, the Canadian Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection is making a renewed effort to reawaken public interest in three long-cold in terms of new leads Northern Manitoba missing persons cases: Jennifer Catcheway, Dwayne Ross and Sunshine Wood.

To coincide with national Missing Children's Day May 25, the Canadian Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection is making a renewed effort to reawaken public interest in three long-cold in terms of new leads Northern Manitoba missing persons cases: Dwayne Ross, Sunshine Wood and Jennifer Catcheway.

Tari Wilson, communications co-ordinator for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said in a May 23 telephone interview this new initiative, "to help raise funds and awareness in order to help bring Canada's missing children home," will run from now until the end of August.

Although believed to be unconnected, the disappearances of Ross and Wood in 2003 and 2004 were strikingly similar. Both from Gods River, on the north shore of Gods Lake at the outlet to Gods River, 255 air kilometres southeast of Thompson, they had recently left their community to attend high school prior to going missing.

Ross was last seen in the downtown area of Thompson on Oct. 1, 2003. He was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with #30 (in red) on the front, navy pants and brown shoes. He was 18 years old at the time of his disappearance.

Wood was last seen on Feb. 20, 2004 leaving the St. Regis Hotel at 285 Smith St. in Winnipeg. Sixteen years old at the time of her disappearance, she was observed on video surveillance exiting the hotel at 11:45 p.m., and has not been seen since. Just six months prior, Wood had moved to Winnipeg from God's River to attend Gordon Bell High School.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection originated as Child Find Manitoba, incorporated in April 1985 following the disappearance and murder of 13-year-old Candace Derksen. Her mother, Wilma, and a group of dedicated volunteers created the organization to provide the essential services that her family didn't have access to throughout and following Candace's disappearance.

Derksen disappeared after leaving school on Nov. 30, 1984. She was found weeks later bound with twine and frozen to death in a supply shed near her home.

Mark Grant was arrested for her murder in May 2007 and convicted of second-degree murder after a lengthy jury trial in February 2011. The Crown's case relied heavily on DNA evidence it said positively linked Grant to the killing. Last October, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned that conviction and ordered a new trial for then 50-year-old Grant.

After the Derksen case in 1985, Child Find Manitoba eventually grew into a national organization, involved in intervention, education and prevention programs. On May 25, 2006, International Missing Children's Day, the organization was renamed the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to more accurately reflect its national role in the protection of children.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection continued to provide missing children services and volunteer programs in Manitoba through the Child Find Manitoba program until May 2011.

On May 24, 2011, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection launched MissingKids.ca, a national online resource centre to provide information and support to families and others searching for missing children. Missing children services are now delivered through the MissingKids.ca program, a registered Canadian charity. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection does not receive any government funding for the operation of MissingKids.ca. 100 per cent of the funds raised during the current campaign will be donated to MissingKids.ca.

Jennifer Catcheway went missing from Grand Rapids on her way to Portage la Prairie to celebrate her 18th birthday with family. She went missing on June 19, 2008. Travellers along Highway 6 stopping at Pelican Landing in Grand Rapids for gas and food are still greeted by a missing persons poster for Catcheway almost six years after her disappearance. In September 2009 Manitoba RCMP said they were treating her disappearance as a homicide investigation. Investigators believe Catcheway's body is somewhere between Grand Rapids and Portage la Prairie.

Police across Canada receive more than 40,000 reports of missing children every year, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says. Reports of missing children are based on the Canadian Police Information Centre's 2013 Missing Persons Statistical Report.

Nationally, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is featuring the historical case of Nicole Morin, who disappeared on Tuesday, July 30, 1985, in the Rathburn Road and Highway 427 area of Toronto, when she was eight years old.

Morin had spoken to a friend earlier in the morning and had made a plan to meet up with her later that day to go swimming in her apartment building's outdoor pool.

She never joined her friend and the Toronto Police Service became engaged in one of the most extensive and exhaustive searches in Toronto's history. When the initial building searches revealed no sign of Nicole Morin, the search expanded to open areas, parks, creeks, rivers, wooded areas, retail areas and schools. The police asked for the assistance of the public to help in the search for Nicole. The plea for help generated a huge response from the community and hundreds of citizens, looking to help find the missing girl, came out to assist police.

As more time passed, Morin's case grew cold. Investigators from 22 Division continue to follow up on tips from the public, but none have ever brought police any closer to finding Nicole.

The Toronto Police Service sought the help of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in the search for her. Posters featuring Nicole Morin were placed in supermarkets and on the back of bank statements in an effort to generate any new information into Nicole's disappearance. Age progression software has been used to develop a photograph of what Nicole may look like as an adult and has been sent out to the public.

Despite the best efforts of the Toronto Police Service and the members of the community who assisted in the search for Nicole, no trace of Nicole Morin has ever been found. As of today, she is still listed as a missing person.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection also operates Cybertip.ca, a national tip line to report the online sexual exploitation of children on the Internet, created in September 2002, that has led to about 431 arrests in almost 12 years; Kids in the Know, an interactive child personal safety program for children in kindergarten to Grade 9; and Commit to Kids, a program to help child-serving organizations create safer environments for the children in their care and reduce their risk of sexual abuse.