Seven years have passed since 22-year-old Aaron Derbyshire went out for an evening at Level Nightclub and apparently disappeared from the face of the earth.
Since that day, Sept. 30, 2006, his bank account has not been used, his parents have not heard from him, his friends and colleagues in the community, and at the boutique engineering firm he loved, have not seen him or heard his voice.
“I never thought our family would be touched by crime like this,” said his mother Glenda Derbyshire at a press conference held today.
She is speculating, she admits, but knowing that he had finally gotten the Chrohn’s disease that plagued him under control, knowing how much he enjoyed his new job, his sports and his friends, she does not believe there is any way he would have brought harm upon himself. He had plans to go river rafting and spend time with his family on the weekend he disappeared and had just moved into a new apartment.
“We know at this time he was in a really good place in his life; he was happy,” said his aunt, Gloria Horning, who also spoke at a press conference to mark the anniversary of his disappearance.
Derbyshire’s family has received many phone calls over the years speculating on what happened to him in the hours after he vanished from the club.
There were reports he saw or heard something he shouldn’t have and other reports indicating he had been seen walking across the bridge, possibly to going for a drunken swim when something went awry.
His mother believes, no matter what the answer, that there is one and that it is something others would know about. In December of 2006 they even set up an unusual time-limited $100,000 reward hoping to flush out information to no avail.
“We know that there are people out there today who know exactly what has happened to him and where he is,” she said.
On their first Thanksgiving without him she remembers they had been planning to take family pictures until he disappeared. Beyond that, it’s been so long now, it’s now a struggle for her to remember the specifics.
In the intervening years, he’s missed out on his own university graduation, the opportunity to plan a wedding, have a family and raise children. He’s missed the births of her grandchildren and his grandfather’s passing, graduations and family celebrations.
Derbyshire imagines those who know what happened to her son have enjoyed a fair number of life’s milestones, have matured and come to understand anew the joys and sorrows a life can bring.
She hopes compassion will one day win out and that the person, or persons, with the critical piece of information she needs to find peace will wake up one morning and decide to come forward. And she hopes this anniversary, or this Thanksgiving, might proved the push needed to bring her family this relief.
According to Kelowna RCMP spokesman Kris Clark, the RCMP never allow a case to become a cold case. Any unsolved disappearance or homicide remains open until it is solved.
Forty actionable items have been assigned to officers to follow up on this year on the Derbyshire case and a review of the file was completed last year.