It has been nearly 17 years since Wendy Bosma last spoke to her son Michael.
Bosma says her son was experiencing mental health struggles and had been admitted to the psychiatric ward in Kelowna shortly before his disappearance on Jan. 9, 2006.
“He was released from the psych ward and it was at the transition house that he went for a walk… I think it was around 9 o’clock at night and he was supposed to back by 11. He didn’t come back.”
Michael was staying at Coral House Transition Facility and was scheduled to receive his medication from staff at 11 p.m., but failed to show up.
“We were not notified until the next morning that he was missing, and this is of course in January so I was quite concerned.”
Bosma says a search party was immediately sent out to all the places he was known to frequent, but no trace of Michael was found.
“At first I thought, well we’ll find him. I was kind of wondering where he was, but it never occurred to me that we would never find him.”
The missing person investigation is still open.
“That was one of the things the RCMP said to us at the very beginning and that’s always stuck with me. As long as there’s no body, there’s hope. As the years go past I realize that it’s less and less likely, but there is a little bit of hope, maybe, he will come home.”
After Michael left the transition house, investigators confirmed he used his debit card to purchase beer at Jammer’s Cold Beer and Liquor Store. That was the only lead in where the young man may have gone.
“That was the last time he used it, but he did have money in his bank account… He did have a student loan. So, that student loan just kept drawing the money from his account until it was done and then we started getting phone calls about his student loans… I just hung up because I thought this is ridiculous.”
Bosma says she’s dealt with many people trying to scam the family for money, claiming to be a clairvoyant or something of the sort and knowing details on Michael’s whereabouts.
A tip even came in about two years following his disappearance to say Michael had been spotted in Texas.
Bosma says a Texas ranger had found the man hiding in the woods and confirmed his name to be Michael Bosma, but it wasn’t her son.
Bosma says they request annual updates on the case from the RCMP. Due to the amount of time that has passed, Michael’s investigation has gone through the hands of various officers.
With no new or valid information in 17 years, Bosma speculates as to where her son is.
“When he got his beer he was walking toward the bridge, the old bridge. He could have stuck out his thumb easily, but my fear is that he jumped off the bridge.”
Bosma says from her research, she believes there are a lot of bodies in Okanagan Lake.
“When Aaron Derbyshire went missing in September, then they actually had the police dive team go there and dive under there. We asked the police to do that, but because there was no actual evidence to say the he had even gone to the bridge they wouldn’t do it. With Aaron there was more evidence, because he had to cross. He lived on the west side, so he would have had to cross the bridge to get home.”
Michael was 25 at the time he disappear and less than two weeks away from his birthday on Jan. 17.
Today, Michael would be 42.
“We haven’t declared him dead, because that’s a really hard thing to do… We will have to eventually but we haven’t got to that point yet.”