By John DeCoste
It has to be a parent’s worst nightmare, having a child go missing.
Earle and Betty Fuller of Berwick know the feeling well. Their son Lyndon, aged 22, disappeared Nov. 25, 1988. Nearly 25 years later, his ultimate fate is still not known.
“There’s hardly been a day since then we haven’t wondered what happened to him,” Earle Fuller said.
“It’s always on your mind, not knowing, but life has to go on. You just move forward,” she said.
Lyndon was a patient at the old Western Kings Memorial Hospital, being treated for depression, when he jumped out a third-storey window wearing only blue and white striped hospital-issue pyjamas.
An agile young man, he appeared to have caught hold of a rain gutter and dropped to the ground, leaving depressions in the grass where he landed.
“There’s no explanation,” Earle says. “We were there when it happened and, by the time we got downstairs, he had disappeared.”
A search was immediately initiated, but, while there were many rumoured sightings, no trace of Lyndon was ever found.
The Fullers, now in their 70s, have “tried just about everything” over the years, from conducting searches and asking questions on their own to co-operating with police to registering with agencies like Child Find Canada and Missing Persons.
Police have travelled as far as California following up tips, but nothing concrete was ever found.
“Your mind wonders what more you could have done,” Earle says. “Every time we’ve tried something new, we get calls from people saying they’ve seen him, or someone who they think looks like him.”
Lyndon is now almost 25 years older than he was when he disappeared. A few years ago, Child Find released age-enhanced photos of what he may look like now.
The Fullers admit “all kinds of things go through your mind,” but the bottom line is, they don’t know any more than they did in 1988 whether their son is dead or alive.
“I still find it hard to understand why, in a town so small and in daylight, there weren’t more clues around to where he might have gone,” Betty said.
Earle confirmed Lyndon had been given some medication shortly before he jumped out the window, which he believes may have affected his mind.
“He was a person who couldn’t be still, didn‘t like to be tied down or confined,” he said. That might explain why he bolted, but not why he hasn’t been seen since.
Earle says it was “very unlike” Lyndon to simply disappear without letting someone know.
“Anytime he was out somewhere, or going somewhere, he would always call,” he said.
“People ask us how do we cope, but what other choice do we have?”
His mother says she’ll never lose hope.
“You don’t ever stop hoping. We’ve been fortunate over the years to have a great deal of support from family, friends and the community. We still get cards and letters of encouragement and people locally have never stopped talking about what might have happened to him.”