At 4:30 p.m. on May 19, John Lane’s 15-year-old son, Nicholas, left his grandparents’ home in Dartmouth, N.S., with no money, identification, or extra clothing. His family has not seen him since. Efforts to find him have been massive: the surrounding area has been scanned by helicopter and police tracking dogs. A nearby lake was searched by divers and a local volunteer group scoured a six-square-mile section of woods, as well as an abandoned gold mine where the teenager had spent time with his friends.
Hundreds of posters have been circulated throughout the province, and Nicholas’s fine-featured face has appeared on the NAMCA (North America Missing Children Association Inc.) home page on the World Wide Web, a heavily used section of the Internet. But apart from a handful of unsubstantiated sightings, no trace of the boy has been found. “My biggest worry is that he is hurt or that someone grabbed him,” says his distraught 42-year-old father. “It makes you hope he just hitchhiked away.”
It is often difficult to know whether a teenager has been abducted, met with an accident—or simply decided to leave home. Some factors in the Lane case, however, may point to the last possibility. Following his parent’s divorce when he was five, Nicholas lived with his mother until he was 10. She then decided that he
should go to live with his father. Four years ago, John Lane, a construction worker who resides in Sackville, N.S., sent Nicholas to live with his grandparents, Arlene and John Lane. The retired couple are now his legal guardians. Nicholas had not attended classes at his junior high since being suspended in March for defying a teacher. And on the day of his disappearance he had a disagreement with his grandmother, although his father insists that the incident was minor—no more than the usual friction between a stubborn teen and a supervising adult.
For Cpl. Wayne Hurst, the Dartmouth police officer investigating the disappearance, Lane’s is not a typical missing person’s case. “Most people are located within a day or a week,” he observes, “or there is some indication of their whereabouts.” It is unusual, he adds, for two months to elapse with no clues. Says Hurst: “It’s extremely frustrating for everyone.”
The disappointing dead ends, however, have not dampened the energy of linda Davis, president and founder of the Halifax-based NAMCA Davis, 53, helped to get Lane’s picture onto the Internet. And she is now trying to circulate more flyers, hoping to catch the attention of truck drivers and others likely to spot Lane. If enough individuals take note, Davis believes there is a good chance that the troubled teen will eventually be found.
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