He liked to dress well and often dreamed of touring the world.
The part-time fisherman and cartoonist introduced his parents to the woman he said he’d married. He had bought her a diamond solitaire ring.
However, it turned out she was married to another man, and he couldn’t convince her to leave him.
Humphrey “Albert” Wilkinson lived alone with his dog in North Surrey, working as a carpenter for Martin Paper Co. in New Westminster.
On Jan. 29, 1957, his mother reported to police that her 30-year-old son hadn’t been seen in a week. She said he’d left his wallet and identification at home, but that he’d taken his dog and his gun with him.
The woman he was courting told investigators she felt Wilkinson was fed up and just wanted to get away. She didn’t believe he was of the mind to cause himself harm.
On the day he was reported missing, he was seen by an employee at the Woolworth’s in New Westminster who knew him as “Al.”
His place of work hadn’t seen him in a week, and he failed to pick up his last paycheque. He didn’t mention to anyone at work that he was leaving, but had previously said to them he’d like to work in Cache Creek.
Police investigators have been unable to locate him in the Cache Creek area.
Others have said because of his dream of touring the world, Wilkinson may have joined the army, or sought employment elsewhere.
Police have determined he did not join the Canadian Army or contact any employment agencies about seeking work outside the Lower Mainland.
Some also said Wilkinson may have gone to northern B.C. to go fishing with a friend he referred to as “Old Man.” Police have been unable identify that friend or where he may live.
Wilkinson would be 84 years old today (June 7) and represents the oldest cold case ever handled on the Surrey RCMP’s Missing Person’s Unit.
His family spent considerable money advertising in various newspapers asking for information on his disappearance, but none of the tips received provided any answers.
“We want people to know that no matter how old a file is, we do not give up on the investigation,” said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Holly Turton. “We never give up trying to locate the missing person, or at least obtain answers for the family and loved ones left behind. We think that this file is a perfect example of that.”
The Surrey RCMP’s Missing Persons Unit is making regular monthly public appeals to generate tips on a selection of historic missing persons cases. Some of these cases involve people who may have had medical or substance abuse issues, were fleeing difficult situations, or were involved in child custody issues. Some have simply just vanished.
The Surrey RCMP’s Missing Persons Unit is comprised of seasoned investigators who work with multiple agencies to locate outstanding people. They also conduct follow up assessments after an individual has been located to ensure the safety of the individual going forward and to prevent any possible future occurrences.