The Doe Network:
Case File 3816DMNF

1 2 3 4 5

Nicholas Leonard
Missing since September 1, 1990 from Wabush, Newfoundland, Canada
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

Circumstances of Disappearance
Nick Leonard was last seen on September 1, 1990. As he was dropped off to walk to a cabin near Wabush for the Labour Day weekend.
Nick Leonard hasn't been seen since. Nick's father in-law had a cabin near Wabush. Nick often went there as he enjoyed the outdoors and fishing. While the cabin was accessible through the lake system by kayak, Nick usually preferred to walk (about 6 km) from the outskirts of town; he went often.
A couple of days before he left to go to the cabin for the weekend, Nick received bad news from back home in Conception Harbour, as his sister passed away with cancer.
Nick and his wife were going through a marital separation at the time. He was upset, and may have been suicidal.
Nick's three children were living with him at the time. Their mother picked them up to spend the long weekend with her. Getting a ride to Elephant Head Road with his estranged wife, he left with his backpack (9:00 am Saturday) to trek to the Porter cabin on Loon Lake, leaving his family thining he would return on Monday. When he didn't, his family contacted the police. A statement to his wife - 'if he couldn't get over her, he wouldn't be back', made the family worried.
The cabin had been disturbed with two Coleman lanterns, that had been hanging in the camp, beat up with a shovel. The shovel was by the door. The drawer with knives was hauled out and thrown on the floor. The kayak was always tied up with two slipknots but this time the ropes had been cut, rather than untied, and the butcher knife from the kitchen drawer was stuck in the ground.
This was very strange and usual, as anger was not a common characteristic for Nick. He was levelheaded and very even-tempered.
When Nick's family searched his residence in the trailer court at Wabush they found the children's school clothes laid out carefully on their beds.
If Nick planned on returning Monday, it was very unusual for him to make such preparations for the beginning of the new school year so many days beforehand. An envelope with more than $100 cash was discovered in the kitchen cupboard. No wallet was found.
The next morning a helicopter search yielded the kayak paddle floating in the middle of the Lower Loon Lake, and later the kayak was found, in water that was only 12 inches deep. A little while later the pilot spotted Nick's knapsack.
A witness saw Nick on September 1, kayaking around 3 in the afternoon.
Nick Leonard came ashore and spent about a half hour with two men. Although it was only six hours after he was dropped off to spend two nights at the Porter cabin, Nick told the men he was heading home. Nick's eyes reportedly had a distant look and appeared glassy-like; both men told him he should stay for the night. Nick then told them he couldn't stay because he had to get home before his babysitter left. This struck his family as strange as there was no babysitter, the children were with their mother.
Nick reportedly drank two beers at that stop the cabin and proceeded down Lower Loon in the kayak. The men said they watched as he made his way and they lost sight of him near the area where the overturned kayak was later found.
The search concentrated to an area of the lake about 300 feet by 1,000 feet, where the kayak was found and Nick was last sighted. The depth was an average of about 25 to 30 feet with the deepest place estimated at 62 feet. The bottom was muddy and easily stirred up. Nothing else linked to Nick was recovered. The official search lasted two and a half days. The lake was also dragged and no trace of the man's body was ever found.
Nick was a strong swimmer and agile woodsman. His family finds it hard to accept that he would have drowned. They wonder if he may somehow have staged his disappearance, or made it ashore and perished in the woods.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

Source Information:
The Aurora

Return to the Unexplained Disappearances' Index