Three years after his son Tyler’s disappearance in Williams Lake, Ken Walton is still offering a $25,000 reward.
The last time Walton saw Tyler was on Nov. 9, 2009.
“I’m sure there’s someone in this community that has some knowledge about what happened to Tyler,” Walton said during an interview. “The last time I saw him, he visited me at my house. He’d brought over his compost for my garden.”
Tyler moved back to Williams Lake from Vancouver in the spring of 2009. His father described him as upbeat, positive, intelligent, and wanting to be an entrepreneur.
“He didn’t like working for people, he wanted to work for himself. And he wanted to be a philanthropist. Whenever he made money, a percentage went into a jar, and it went to wherever he donated it to.”
If he was interested in something, Tyler researched it. He encouraged people around him, and was normally very positive.
“The last time I saw him though, he was totally out of character. He seemed very bitter and very down on people,” Walton said.
About a week before he went missing, Tyler had been attacked while riding a bike in the Glendale area. It was a “knock him out fight” and attempted robbery that really shook him, his dad recalled.
“Somebody out there in this community has to know what happened to Tyler. We have our suspicions. I think he was naive and got into something over his head that he shouldn’t have.”
At the time of his disappearance Tyler was 26 years old and weighed 145 pounds. He was 5’ 11’, wore his hair at medium length and normally had a full beard.
To help solve the case, the Williams Lake RCMP has developed a website —www.tylerwalton.ca — that will be launched on Nov. 19, the day after the anniversary of when Tyler’s disappearance was reported to the RCMP.
“The hope is that we can do ongoing updates and leads we’re following, and new information that the public may be able to help us rout out. The one piece that we’re working on right now is that he was seen with two fellows the day of his disappearance. We’re wondering who are these people because we’d like to speak to them,” said Cpl. Jason Pole of the Williams Lake RCMP general investigation section.
It could be something as benign as a couple of friends of Tyler’s that were hanging around with him that day, yet the RCMP is hoping to jog some memories.
“That’s one line we’re working on right now and we’re expecting more will come up once we go to this public appeal,” Pole said, adding there will always be a very small portion of useful tips, because there is often lots of “noise” to sift through.
The problem with a public appeal, Pole said, is it creates a lot of work for investigators sifting through “good tips” and “bad tips” and if it’s a “bad tip” why.
“If you end up in a situation where you have to take something to court, then you have to be able to explain why you didn’t think something was valid and why. Nonetheless, we’d expect there’s probably going to be more lines of inquiry opened up because of the website and we may again need more assistance from the public to move those forward.”
Keeping Tyler’s disappearance in the forefront of people’s minds is the main hope for the website, he emphasized.
“We’re looking at the fact that three years have gone by now. People’s memories are starting to fade so collectively, hopefully, we can answer some questions about critical details,” Pole said.
“Anonymous tips have come in suggesting that there was foul play involved and certainly anybody that looks at the file over the time period and knows Tyler would probably be leaning towards that something has befallen him that’s keeping him from making contact. I don’t see him disappearing off the face of the earth without letting somebody know something. From what I’ve seen, he values his relationships too much, and would feel terrible if they were left wondering like they have been,” Pole said, adding there’s not enough information to say one way or the other.
Tyler was an outdoorsy guy, but seemed to be very good at telling people where he was going.
Anyone with information that might help is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.