KELOWNA — It’s one of Kelowna’s oldest unsolved mysteries. A young British backpacker, Charles Horvath, vanished without a trace in May of 1989.
“In the spring of ’89 he was here in Kelowna. He was actually registered at a local campsite and shortly thereafter lost contact with his family and hasn’t been seen since,” said Kelowna RCMP Cst. Kris Clark.
But even after 25 years, the case isn’t cold according to police.
“The file is active it will remain active until Charles is found,” said Cst. Clark.
The then 20-year-old Horvath disappeared three weeks after arriving in Kelowna. He was staying at the Tiny Town campground and was last seen on May 26th, 1989, cashing a cheque at the Orchard Park Royal Bank.
For years afterwards, his mother Denise Allan, travelled from the UK to Kelowna on the anniversary of his disappearance. In May of 2010 she launched a billboard campaign in West Kelowna, hoping someone would come forward with information.
“I just a hope to tell the world that he is still missing. We still don’t have him home and the answer is here in Kelowna and to remind those who know the answer that I am still searching and I will until end of my life,” Allan told Global Okanagan in 2010.
“I never would have believed I would be doing it 21 years later,” Allan continued, “I have reached a stage now where this will be my last trip.”
Police won’t confirm whether Horvath is dead and therefore if foul play is suspected.
“There’s obviously concern after so many years of not being in contact with somebody, whether it’s a recovery at this point or not,” said Cst. Clark.
But Allan believes her son was murdered.
“Why did you take my child? What day did you kill him? Where did you put him what did he do wrong to not be able to come home?” Allan said at a Kelowna RCMP news conference in 2009.
While there have been few recent leads in the case, Cst. Clark told Global Okanagan a senior officer is now reviewing the file to see if anything may have been missed that could further the investigation.
The RCMP is again asking anyone with information to come forward.