It’s been over three days since Pte. Michal Beaman has been missing. With every day that passes, it leaves more questions for his parents, Natalie and Robert Beaman, who drove from New Brunswick to Kingston in one night once they heard he was missing.
“We drove through storms, drove through the night,” Robert said.
Michal, a 22-year-old a reservist from New Brunswick, had been in Kingston since early January on a linesmen course, learning, in part, to “climb 350-foot polls,” Natalie said. He and some of his classmates, who Natalie said had all become good friends after just a few weeks together, went out Friday night to a nightclub called The Spot.
Before midnight, military police say friends saw Michal speaking to a young woman before he simply disappeared.
His cellphone pinged from a building down Princess Street not far from the bar later in the evening, but military police say he was not found at that location.
His roommates reported him missing to their chain of command on Saturday morning, and by Sunday evening, military police had begun their investigation into his disappearance. His parents said they, too, knew something was very wrong when they heard he wasn’t back at the barracks Sunday evening, the night before an early morning class.
“He would have been in barracks preparing for the next day,” Robert told Global News in an interview, “10 to 12 hours before he had to be there — that’s just the way he is.”
Natalie said within hours of getting that call, they were on the road from New Brunswick to Kingston to join the search for their son.
When they arrived in Kingston Monday morning, the Beamans said they encountered a group of soldiers searching for Michal on Princess Street, and Natalie said she felt an overwhelming rush of gratitude.
“I was able to give them all a hug,” Natalie said. “It’s just been tremendous, tremendous.”
“The outpouring has been been wonderful.”
The search for the missing reservist that began Sunday evening spilled over into Monday and Tuesday, with hundreds of military members pouring over the base and downtown Kingston, looking for hints of the young man.
Kingston police are assisting military police in the search. They have two detectives working on the case and two traffic safety officers operating the Kingston police drone to cover ground from the air.
OPP have also confirmed their underwater search and recovery unit is assisting Kingston police, while military police say they have been combing the waterfront looking for Beaman.
The dive team arrived in Kingston Tuesday afternoon, with OPP officers and military police stationed on the LaSalle Causeway bridge and a Kingston police drone hovering over the thin ice on the north side of the bridge.
The young man’s aunt, Tracy Brewer, who lives in New Brunswick, says Beaman’s mother was told by military police that Michal was caught by security cameras speaking to a young woman at the Spot Friday evening. She said Michal followed the woman out of the bar. Brewer claims that the woman returned, but Beaman never did.
Brewer also noted she was told by Michal’s parents he was seen at a downtown Kingston overnight warming centre speaking to homeless people the night he disappeared.
Finally, Brewer claims that the young reservist was caught by security cameras looking at a plaque on the east side of the LaSalle Causeway.
Neither military police nor Kingston police would confirm these details, nor would Michal’s parents, who said they didn’t want to comment on the specifics of their son’s disappearance.
“Too much information can be confusing. You heard some stuff that wasn’t verified. It’s a process, so we want to make sure everything that is released is checked out,” Natalie told Global News.
Like them, Natalie said Brewer, who is her sister, is completely distraught over Michal’s disappearance, and that in an attempt to be helpful, she may have shared some details that have yet to be validated.
“When I tell her something, she may not get all of everything,” Natalie said.
Nevertheless, what both parents are taking away from this difficult situation are the extreme lengths to which military, police and people in Kingston have gone to look for Michal.
“We’re just really, really, really thankful to the military for all the support… There’s not even words to say how great they’ve been and how they’re there for us, that we know that they’ll help us in any way that they can,” Natalie said.
Their hope is that people in Kingston stay vigilant, and keep looking for their son.
“We just need to find him,” Natalie said.
“We just need him back,” Robert added.
— With files from Jonna Semple.