‘We can finally breathe’: Vinnie Jansen’s family have snatched the 7-year-old boy and his mother back to safety
The family of the seven-year-old boy who disappeared from Saskatoon say the past two weeks have been a « nightmare », but they feel immense relief now that Vincent « Vinnie » Jansen and his mother, Dawn Walker, have been found.
Vincent and Walker, 48, were reported missing in Saskatoon on July 24. For days, emergency crews and volunteers combed through areas near town where the couple might have been, while others prayed for their well-being and safe return.
The mother and son were found « safe and sound » in Oregon City, Oregon on Friday morning, according to Saskatoon police.
« When we found out they were both safe, there was sobbing, laughing, dancing, screaming, shoe throwing and cuddling…It felt like we could finally breathe » , the Jansen family wrote in a statement released Saturday morning. They said they were unable to do interviews at this time, but wanted to provide an update.
« Words cannot express the feelings we have right now. Vincent and Dawn are safe – that’s all we’ve wished, hoped and prayed for over the last two weeks of hell. »
The Jansen family said it was a « special kind of torture » to comb the area near the South Saskatchewan River during the search.
As we walked, scanning the lush Meewasin Trail and gazing into the water, we were forced to contemplate the unthinkable. Was that pair of soiled shoes thrown in the bank at Vinnie’s? Was it a reflection on the surface of the water or on the body of our little boy?– Statement from the Jansen family
« As we walked, peering down the lush Meewasin Path and gazing into the water, we were forced to contemplate the unthinkable. Was that dirty pair of shoes thrown ashore at Vinnie’s? Was it a reflection on the surface of the water or the body of our little boy? »
They said they hoped to find Walker and his son, but, at the same time, they didn’t want to find them, fearing the worst.
« The agony of not knowing if a loved one is safe is something we would never wish on anyone. Our hearts aches for all the families still searching for missing loved ones, » they wrote.
In the statement, the family acknowledged the many people, organizations and law enforcement agencies who assisted in the thorough search for Walker and his son.
“We are whole again and will now take some time to enjoy the company of our son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin. Please give yours an extra big hug (or two). close tonight. »
The investigation continues
The circumstances surrounding the couple’s disappearance remain mysterious.
Walker, a member of the Okanese First Nation, was first reported missing to police after friends and family did not hear from her – behavior described as unusual. She was last seen July 22 at a business in the 300 block of Owen Manor in Saskatoon.
On July 25, police found Walker’s truck and other belongings at Chief Whitecap Park, just south of Saskatoon near the South Saskatchewan River. Police later learned that someone in the area had found Walker’s purse a few days earlier.
Volunteers, police and several community organizations conducted an elaborate and thorough search for Walker and Jansen to no avail.
Police say the two were located through collaboration with the United States Department of Homeland Security and with the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States.
They say US authorities are considering ‘any potential action as a result of illegal entry into the United States’
They said that pending any action by US authorities, Walker would be sent back to Saskatoon to meet with investigators.
« As this investigation will continue to move quickly, a media availability is scheduled for Monday, » the Saskatoon Police Department said in a news release Saturday.