|Missing - Pierre Mercon|
According to the Toronto Sun, there were upward of 200 patrons at the now-defunct bar celebrating that night. The bar rested on an open patch of land "that was almost a pasture back then." It is now filled with residential housing.
Mercon phoned his mother from the pay phone outside the bar and asked her to pick him up at a nearby corner. She had driven him there earlier in the evening so he could celebrate with colleagues who had just finished a federal job training program. He and his mother were close and she didn't mind his calling for a lift.
Mercon's mother drove to the prearranged street corner to pick up her son. She found it empty. In fact, no one was in sight.
The Search for Pierre Mercon
When Norma Mercon last saw her son, he was wearing a costume consisting of Army fatigues, brown work boots, a camouflage Army-style rain poncho that his brother, Alexander, had loaned him, a green wool hat, and a long black hippie-style wig. Only his poncho has ever turned up. It was found under the table where Mercon had been sitting.
"He was still a boy," Alexander, told the Toronto Sun. "He was a house boy, not a street boy. Our family was close. The police response? He's over 18. He's a grown man. Wait it out. And, as a result, it was three days before a detective knocked at our door."
According to the Sun:
"When Mercon went missing, it wasn't the best time for the York regional police. The OPP was probing the comings and goings of York Chief Bryan Cousineau, who would be bounced a year later for a breach of trust conviction and replaced by future Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino."
'It wasn't until Fantino arrived that anyone really cared about what happened to my son," said Norma Mercon, indicating that a York detective named Richard McVeity was the one who finally put his soul into it.'
'I put a ton of time into it,' says McVeity.
'When a man calls his mother to pick him up and then is not there, then something is amiss. Besides, I didn't take Pierre as the type of person who would put his mother through all that.'
'But so much time had passed by then.'"
Investigators did determine that Mercon had no enemies, no heavy drug-use background, no debts and no reported threats against him. His bank account, from which he used to withdraw $20 nearly every day, remained opened, but untouched. Mercon wasn't one to hang with the wrong crowd, and he had no reason to disappear on his own.
Foul play is strongly suspected in the case.
But, according to the Tandem News, "without a smoking gun, without a body, without witnesses or any material evidence, the trail for Mercon soon grew cold."
The case ended up on the desk of York Regional police Detective Tim Gore, the region's lone cold case investigator since March 2002. Gore has been a police officer for 26 years.
"It seems like he just fell off the face of the Earth," Det. Gore told the paper. "Because he doesn't have a history of running away, because his bank accounts haven't been touched, we began investigating the missing persons report right away."
He added, "There are cases when the victim is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes there just isn't a motive to be found," says Det. Gore. "In this case when he calls his mom and asks her to pick him up and he's not at the intersection where he's supposed to be, it leads us to believe that there is probably foul play involved."
As of July 2005, Gore had 38 cold homicides and disappearances to investigate; and he was hoping to crack his first case. "I'd like to be able to phone the victims family and tell them I have good news, that justice will be served," he told the paper. "Closure is important, even if it simply means finding a body that the family can bury," he said.
If you have any information, please contact: York Regional Police Homicide & Missing Persons at (905) 830-0303.
Name/age: Pierre Mercon, 21
Last Seen: 11/1/96, 2 a.m., Original Six Sports Bar at 14 Oxford Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Physical Description: Caucasian, 6'1," 220 pounds, stocky build, short brown hair, hazel eyes. Prominent tattoo of Uruguay on shoulder of right arm.
Last wearing: Army fatigues, green wool hat, long black wig (Halloween costume), work boots.
Investigating Agency: York Regional Police Homicide & Missing Persons at (905) 830-0303.