Missing Michael: The story of a Victoria boy who vanished without a trace

On four-year-old Michael Dunahee’s last Christmas with his family in 1990, he receives a big box of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Michael is a fan of the crime fighting turtles. He joyfully shouts ‘Turtle Power! ‘ as he plays with his new toys.

The moment is captured on home video shared by the Dunahee family. The video supports the research and production of ‘Missing Michael‘, a new podcast series about the boy’s high-profile disappearance in Victoria on Sunday, March 24, 1991.

‘Missing Michael’ begins with a focus on Michael and his world before he vanished.

Michael’s love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the things his parents Bruce and Crystal Dunahee remember fondly as they describe their son, who has now been gone more than 30 years.

“He is really outgoing, he likes planes and cars, like every little boy does and dump trucks. He is just learning how to ride his bike part without the training wheels, just starting to get that adventurism to venture out and play on his own. He was very articulate, he wasn’t afraid to talk,” said Crystal Dunahee of her son.

“He wasn’t really a big kid for his age, but he was pretty clever, very outgoing chatty,” added Bruce Dunahee.

The father says they were “just an ordinary little family, plugging along.” He recalls how when Michael’s baby sister, Caitlin, was born, the boy loved “holding the baby and doting over her.”

A young boy holds his baby sister as she sits on his lap

A young Michael Dunahee holds his baby sister, Caitlin. (Submitted)

Felicia Bernier was one of Michael’s neighbourhood playmates.

“I’ve got a picture of us sitting together in a chair at Christmas time. And that’s the only picture that I have of the two of us together,” she said.

Two young children sit on an armchair side by side

Felicia Bernier and Michael Dunahee sit on a couch as children. (Submitted)

Bernier recalls dressing up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and trick or treating with her best friend when they were children.

“I have a picture of my Halloween costume the last year we went out for Halloween together. We were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was Mikey. I was Raph,” she recalled.

“I picked Raphael because he had red and then Michael obviously chose Mikey/Michelangelo because he liked pizza.”

A young child dressed in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume

A young Felicia Bernier dressed up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. (Submitted)

Michael, who would now be in his 30s, vanished in minutes from the former Blanshard Elementary school area while his family was nearby. In ‘Missing Michael’, listeners are invited to get to know Michael and those who love him. The series also takes the audience inside the investigation, including through interviews with Victoria Police detectives past and present.

“To get the opportunity at this point in my career to work on the case, it’s a privilege. It can be a little overwhelming and frustrating because it’s such a big case and you just want to solve it so badly. And so many people have come before you so it’s emotional for me to be connected with it,” Victoria Police Det.-Sgt. Michelle Robertson.

Read more: Missing Victoria boy Michael Dunahee focus of new podcast

On the day he vanished, Michael was wearing his beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt. Back when Michael was a little kid, enchanted with the Turtles, Townsend Coleman was voicing the Michelangelo character. Now, the actor is lending his voice to an appeal heard in each episode of ‘Missing Michael’.

“Michael Dunahee loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Back when Michael was a little guy, loving the magic of the Turtles, I had the privilege of being the voice of Michelangelo. I’m Townsend Coleman, a voice actor, and one of the many people who want answers in Michael’s case. The Turtles were crime fighters who believed in justice. If you have any information about Michael, please head to MichaelDunahee.ca and click on the ‘Report a Tip’ button,” Coleman can be heard saying at the end of each episode.

Hundreds of volunteers and a number of police agencies helped try to find the boy, but no trace of Michael was ever found.

If you have information about the disappearance of Michael Dunahee, please go to Michaeldunahee.ca and click on the report a tip button, which will direct you to Victoria Police.

‘Missing Michael’ is a 10-part podcast series for Rogers Frequency Network. 

You can listen to this series and other Island Crime episodes on all podcast platforms. The first full episode drops on Jan. 18.

Rogers is the parent company of this station and the Frequency Podcast Network.

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