As if a missing child isn’t bad enough to turn any parent’s stomach sideways, one Prince George mom is wondering how someone could be so cruel after she received a horrific prank call about her son’s disappearance.
Phyllis Fleury has been looking for her 16-year-old son, Colten, since she last saw him May 3 in the motel where they live.
Her life is now spent in constant searching, saving money to visit Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where it’s believed he may be, and handing out flyers to keep people vigilant.
On Tuesday this week, Fleury said she got a 1 a.m. phone call that gave her a few seconds of hope.
“I jumped up because he said, ‘Oh this is Vancouver police and it’s regarding your son,’” she told Black Press Media.
“I don’t even remember if he said that they found him. I was thinking if it was a phone call, they must have him in custody and they’ll have to bring him to the hospital.”
The caller said they’d found Colten hanging from a tree in a schoolyard.
“Everything in my body just went numb. I just can’t describe it,” Fleury said. “All I could say was, ‘Where?’”
She contacted the Prince George RCMP to give them the information, and eventually learned from both the Mounties and Vancouver police the call did not come from an officer, and that someone had been playing a disturbing joke.
“I was so upset, I was ready to puke,” she said. “That was the meanest thing to do because it wasn’t true.”
Police will introduce themselves using their full name and rank, and won’t typically contact next of kin over the phone.
What’s worse is that Fleury had actually spoken to the Vancouver police before. They had reported two possible sightings of Colten when a teen had been taken to a local hospital. But both times, it ended up not being her boy.
The search for her son met with tips, let downs
Colten, standing five-feet-eight-inches tall, with brown eyes and brown hair, is one of Fleury’s seven children between two marriages.
“Colten is my baby,” she said. “He loved to skateboard.”
|Colten Fleury with his mom, Phyllis, preparing salmon. (Contributed)|
Her son has had a life of troubles, as he grew up in and out of care with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Somewhere in the last five years, he discovered crystal meth.
After a problem involving fighting at one of his group homes, he was placed back in his mother’s care, and the two lived in a room in the motel where Fleury works.
Since his disappearance, rumours have been circulating in Prince George that Colten is dead. But several tips have also come in that he’s been spotted in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park with a blonde woman.
Fleury said she plans to return to Vancouver for a fourth time, to again hand out flyers and talk to passersby in hopes of any information that will lead her to her son.
Prince George RCMP told her this week the case would be passed onto the serious crime unit once the missing’s person file hits the four-month mark.
When asked if she believes her son is alive, she took a long pause.
“I just want to know Colten is fine. That Colten’s okay. If he wants to hide, and he has a reason to hide, I will send him money on my paycheque, just so I know that he is okay. And I’ve never ever told that to anybody until now,” she said through tears.
“I don’t know if he is hiding or paying off a debt for drugs, but I want to know that he is okay and I will send money for his food so that he can eat.”
Anyone with information on Colten’s whereabouts is asked to call Prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).