For 10 months now, Theresa Gray has had one focus: finding her son.
Devon Marsman went missing in late February. The Halifax teen turned 17 in October, but instead of sharing presents or a cake, his mother has been scouring the province and the country for him.
“I criss-crossed Nova Scotia. I sent flyers — like laminated posters — (to) all different places: Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver. I mean, the days that I don’t work, I’m searching woods,” she said.
“I shouldn’t have to search. You know, enough already.”
Gray said she’s close with her son, and it’s completely out of character for him to not be in touch.
“He’s a great kid. Always been a good kid,” she said. “There have been times he’s been out and stayed out a few nights with friends, but nothing crazy. Never been in trouble.”
She said she last saw Marsman on Feb. 27, although it has been reported he was last seen the week of Feb. 21.
For three days, Gray tried calling and texting him — but no reply. She reached out to his friends, but no one had seen him.
“The group of friends that I reached out to were the group of friends I always knew that he hung around with. I didn’t realize Devon actually had two groups of friends,” she said.
She reported him missing at that point.
Friends and family have organized searches, including one in May in the Roach’s Pond area of Spryfield, where Gray believes he may have been.
In early October, Halifax Regional Police (HRP) said the teen’s disappearance was considered suspicious, and that investigators believed there were people who had information but had “not shared” with police.
“Investigators in the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division continue to investigate Devon’s disappearance and believe it is suspicious,” HRP spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said in a statement Monday.
Last week, Marsman’s disappearance was added to Nova Scotia’s Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program, which offers a reward of up to $150,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his disappearance.
Gray and her supporters have also raised $10,000 as a reward, but that hasn’t yielded any tips. She agrees there are people who know what happened, but haven’t been forthright.
“I’m glad they added him. But why does it have to take money for somebody to just tell me where my son is? You know?” she said.
“This could be anybody’s child, but it’s my child. You know, Devon just turned 17 years old. I mean, if something happened … just tell me where to go find him or if you sent him away or somebody’s trafficked him, tell me where to go to get him, because I will definitely go.”
Meanwhile, Gray continues to search, and calls the experience torture.
“I have no holiday spirit whatsoever. But I do have a daughter that lives here. She’s 18. I wasn’t going to decorate or do anything for Christmas, you know?” she said,
“So what do you do? It’s like you’re torn. Because for me, I don’t feel like doing anything for Christmas. My Christmas would be if I could just find my son.”
Marsman is described as an African Nova Scotian youth, about five feet tall and 100 pounds, with blue-green eyes and short dark hair.
Anyone with information about his disappearance can call the Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program at 1-888-710-9090. Those who provide information must provide their name and contact information and may be called to testify in court.
Those with information who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
— with a file from Skye Bryden-Blom