This story caught my eye because of this
"Iroaga, on his second day on the job, had been ordered by his crew boss to replant a section of trees he had improperly planted the first day out and the block he'd planted that morning. Iroaga refused.
He threw down his shovel, his tree-planting bag, his high-visibility vest, hard hat and work boots, laced up his leather running shoes and walked away. "
Family seeks probe of son's disappearance
Apr 24, 2008 04:30 AM
dale anne freed, staff reporter Toronto Star
Iroaga, on his second day on the job, had been ordered by his crew boss to replant a section of trees he had improperly planted the first day out and the block he'd planted that morning. Iroaga refused.
He threw down his shovel, his tree-planting bag, his high-visibility vest, hard hat and work boots, laced up his leather running shoes and walked away.
He was an experienced tree planter. It was his second summer planting black spruce and jack pine seedlings in the northern bush.
According to witnesses, Iroaga had been told to wait on a corner of a dirt logging road for pickup at the day's end. He agreed. He was about 70 kilometres from the town of White River on Highway 17.
But by 4:05 p.m., when the crew arrived, Iroaga was not there.
"No sign, vanished," wrote Iroaga's supervisor, John Ritter, in notes made at the time.
Iroaga was last seen at 3:45 p.m. on May 15, 2006, walking alone up a dusty logging road.
Nearly two years later, his family, frustrated by a seemingly stalled investigation, is suggesting foul play in the young man's disappearance.
"I'm calling on the Ministry of Labour to get involved. All these young people they recruit from universities to go tree planting, it's under their responsibility if they go missing. I also want the coroner's office to do an inquest following their investigation," said Iroaga's father Nwab Iroaga, 71, who teaches organizational behaviour at Seneca College.
Nwab, of Scarborough, and his older son Echere, 37, an electrical engineer from California, flew to the area the day after Aju's disappearance. They found his driver's licence, Nigerian and Canadian passports, phone card, social insurance card and phone calling card with his camp belongings.
Five hours later the police were called in, said OPP Det. Sgt. Jeff Bangma, who worked on the case. Two officers drove the roads honking their horns; one stayed all night calling Aju's name.
"If the canine units didn't find him, then somehow he must have been transported out of that place," said Aju's father. He believes the search was made in the wrong area.
Two weeks later, the Iroagas hired a private investigator who also turned up nothing. Nwab offered a $50,000 reward for anyone with clues to finding his son.
Now he wants the search restarted and its area widened.
Aju's family is cranking up the pressure on authorities. They held a news conference at Queen's Park on Monday, the same day 30 friends and relatives sat in on the Legislature to urge the minister of community safety to re-open the case.
Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees rose in the Legislature to demand a probe on behalf of the family, saying that the OPP investigation was inconclusive. He also called for the Ministry of Labour to investigate. "Parents want to be assured, that (students are) being recruited to job sites that are safe."
NDP justice critic Peter Kormos blamed the OPP for what he termed "a botched investigation" and for not notifying the coroner's office. Minister of Community Safety Rick Bartolucci agreed to meet with the family at Queen's Park for half an hour and his deputy minister assured the Iroagas he'd report back in a month's time with updates.
"I'm very much encouraged. ... This is the first time somebody is really caring," said Nwab.
Last week, the office of the chief coroner launched an investigation into Aju's death and met with the OPP in Sudbury to get their assistance.
Aju was seen waiting by the logging road at least 10 times over the four hours after he quit. He gave a thumbs-up or wave to his supervisor as he drove by. A long-distance runner, Aju often sprinted close to 30 kilometres along the logging roads in the mornings before he left the Crocker Lake base camp at 7 a.m. for tree planting,
"I don't know how he got out (of the area). My impression is that he made it out. I assume the police investigation was that he got out since they called off the search," said Paul Thususka, a co-owner and general manager of A&M Reforestation, the company that hired Iroaga.
His parents say they need to know what happened. "I know for sure that my son is not alive," said his mother Nkechi, 59. But, "I need that closure so that my mind will rest."