On January 10 I worked police dispatch for district 3. This is the south east corner of Vancouver, a large and busy district, especially so on a Saturday night. At about 2230 hours it was raining mixed with snow. A lady was walking home with her child in the 7800 block of Champlain, which is a major thoroughfare in this part of the district, composed of townhouses, a school, a community center and some minor businesses. Suddenly a 12 year old Asian boy ran up to her dressed only in flannel pajamas in his bare feet in the rain, telling her that his parents were fighting and begging her to help him. She refused, pointing to the Royal Arch Masonic Care Home that they were in front of, and telling him to run there, as they would help him. She then walked on, leaving him to his own devices. She told us later that she last saw him running towards this care home. About 15 minutes later she arrived home and, starting to feel a bit guilty I suppose, called 911.
Needless to say the call taker that took the call was appalled. So was I when the call appeared on my dispatch screen a moment later. The call taker immediately tried calling the Royal Arch home to see if the staff had the kid with them. No one would answer the phone there.
Meanwhile I’ve got the sergeant heading over with multiple police units, one going to the complainant’s home to get more details and one straight to the care home to see what they could tell us. The staff came to the door when the police officer buzzed the intercom. The duty nurse told this police officer that yes, the boy had come to the door soaking wet in his pajamas, crying, begging for help. The care home staff refused to open the door for this boy as it was “against their policy” and told him to seek help elsewhere. The last that they saw of him he was running away from their front door. Needless to say the police officer at the door blew a fuse and demanded to know why they didn’t call 911. If you can believe it, the nursing supervisor then told this police officer, “Oh yes, we did call 911.” The police officer got REALLY angry then. He told her that we WERE 911 and we knew for a fact that they had made no such call. They hadn’t. I can’t imagine how they thought that we’d think that they had.
Due to the bad weather our helicopter with its infrared scanning equipment was not in the air, but I threw every other resource that we had at this. Units checked every single street and the dog unit checked all the trails in the vicinity: Unfortunately our dog unit couldn’t track the boy because by the time we got this call and he’d got to the scene so many people had come and gone from the care home that it would have been impossible to tell who he was tracking.
Assisted by the call taker, I checked the history of every block of houses out several blocks in every direction looking for any residence that might have a history that would give us a clue where this kid might have come from. Even if the family involved had an extensive history, all that it would take is for them to move to a new house where we hadn’t had any calls yet and we’d never be able to find them that way.
The call taker and I found nothing useful.
The initial area search produced no results.
The duty officer (basically the acting chief constable) arrived on scene and got units to go door to door from the care home outwards looking for anything that would help. In the first 15 minutes of this door to door search we discovered 6 witnesses, all who had seen the following: Our Asian boy in his pajamas in the middle of Champlain Crescent, trying to stop passing cars, yelling ang begging for assistance.
All of the cars drove around him and went on.
Not one of the 6 witnesses called 911.
After three hours of searching we never found him.
The dispatchers and call takers in the ops room shook their heads and said things like: “What is this world coming to?”
Some people in the Pagan community have asked me: “Why would you want to create an order of Knights?”
Because this is what the world is coming to.
I heard a lot of people on the ops floor say things that night like: “When you hear of things like this you wonder what hope is there for the world.”
Some people in the Pagan community say: “An order of Knights? That’s rather archaic. What use is it?”
Why are we all gathered together as an order of Knights?
WE are the hope.
We came together, attracted by the precepts and principles of our order. WE stand for honor and responsibility. WE are the example for the rest of our community and the rest of the world.
I know that every single one of you in our Order would have done everything you could to help this poor boy. We have ALL taken an oath to help the weak. That’s just one of the reasons that I’m so proud of you all.
I can only imagine what he must think having reached out to so many who simply turned away. Let us all hope that this boy is found safe and that a solution is found to his problem.