Mom still seeking answers 43 years after her toddler vanished in Alberta
It happened in minutes. Three-year-old Jeffrey Dupré, a slave, disappeared when he was playing outside his family’s new home in the small town of Lake.
The toddler asked her mother if she could hang out with her neighbors, and she agreed. As she entered her house to change the laundry from the washer to the dryer, there was a knock on her door.
It was Jeffrey’s friend and he said he was going to play with him. Dennis Mackie was confused — weren’t the boys together?
That confusion quickly turned to panic, asking neighbors if they had seen Jeffrey. With no sightings, McKee contacted his RCMP.
“They said they couldn’t come because they were busy, so talk to your neighbors,” recalls McKee.
Wildfires ravaged the town of 5,000 that day, and McKee knew the situation was dire.
She gathered her neighbors and contacted a group called the Slave Lake Disaster Commission. They gathered around her and her husband and organized a search.
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“They walked arm in arm around the city, making sure they didn’t miss anything. They knew Jeffrey wasn’t there. They searched the creek,” she said.
“They said, ‘We know he’s not in town.'”
McKee then recommended that the search committee search in the bush surrounding the town — Dupré’s new home was also on the edge of town, McKee said.
They thought the military could help and the RCMP could coordinate.
So McKee said he went back to the RCMP and asked for help finding the little boy.
Again, she said she was rejected, and an officer laughed at her for suggesting the military get involved.
It upset the 26-year-old woman and she decided to take matters into her own hands.
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She recalled coordinating a press conference and telling local media that the RCMP was not helping with the search for Jeffrey. Being involved in politics, she also sought the help of politicians from all corners of the political landscape.
This angered the local RCMP, who began accusing her of killing her own son.
“And they clung to me as a suspect to excuse the fact that they hadn’t looked for Jeffrey for literally a whole year,” she said.
With no sign of Jeffrey over the years, McKee and her husband had two more sons.
Both grew up knowing of Jeffrey’s disappearance. McKee said one had a tattoo on his chest indicating that he had lost his brother.
The disappearance of her son rocked the Slave Lake community for years, she said, but McKee knew little of her about what they were doing to help the RCMP find the boy. said.
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Now nearly 70 years old and battling multiple sclerosis, McKee is trying to raise awareness again about Jeffrey’s disappearance.
“I can die knowing I did something. I tried.”
Anna J. James, a reporter turned private investigator who once covered Jeffrey’s case in the media and then offered to take on the file.
“I just promised Denise that I won’t turn the stone inside out,” said James.
For decades, the organization had perfected several age progression images in hopes of finding Jeffrey. I just tried and finished a new one.
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Recently sent to local media by the Slave Lake RCMP.
The RCMP declined to be interviewed, but a press release said Jeffrey could go by a different name and walk with a limp.
McKee said he had inserts in his shoes when he was a child due to hip and leg problems.
James hopes the new images will help bring back memories.
“I really believe someone out there knows something. We always say so. And I think it’s only a matter of time before someone comes forward.”
The private investigator also set up an information line directly to her because she said some people didn’t want to talk to law enforcement.
There is also a $5,000 reward offered for information leading to Jeffrey’s whereabouts.
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GoFundMe was started to help pay for things like posters and billboards. James wants volunteers with a variety of skill sets to lend their time and expertise to the case.
She spoke with a retired RCMP agent who believes Jeffrey’s case can be resolved.
James believes he is still alive — partly based on sightings the RCMP has shared over the years of a woman who lured Jeffrey into a blue Chevrolet truck with a man in it. .
“They could be a family that lost a child and it was a crime of opportunity,” James speculated.
PI is also experimenting with new research avenues, such as advances in genealogical tracing.
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“We uploaded Denise’s DNA to 23 and Me and Ancestry.com and several other databases, but there were no hits. There were no hits for Jeffrey. Nothing even close to a son or grandson.” No. That said, there is still hope,” James said.
“With over 2 million profiles being uploaded every day, things could change.”
Over the years, about half a dozen men have approached McKee as potential Jeffreys, but so far none have worked out.
“If anyone believes they are Jeffrey, please contact them in the following ways: agency recovery or our Facebook page I will actually send you a DNA test. If you’re not Jeffrey, we’ll actually work with you to find your family. ”
James is now combing through old Facebook tips from the past decade and interviewing some of the first witnesses and residents who lived near Jeffrey when he went missing. It’s a schedule.
As for Mackie, she believes Jeffrey resembles her two living sons – because the three were similar as children.
We can’t say for sure if Jeffrey is alive, but she still holds out hope.
“At this point, I just want to know what happened. I want to know why it happened,” he said.
“Better than late. And all the ducks are in line. If someone has the most ridiculous idea, it’s not stupid. Send it to Anna.”