Vancouver Island’s missing men featured in the Gone Boys podcast. Left to right: Ian Henry, Brandon Cairney, Desmond Peter, Kelly McLeod, Daniel MacDonnell. (Courtesy of Laura Palmer)

Vancouver Island’s missing men featured in the Gone Boys podcast. Left to right: Ian Henry, Brandon Cairney, Desmond Peter, Kelly McLeod, Daniel MacDonnell. (Courtesy of Laura Palmer)

True crime podcast explores connection between five missing Vancouver Island men

Gone Boys is the second season of Island Crime

Men and boys with similar attributes, living in similar places are going missing and staying missing, prompting some people to ask whether there could be a serial killer lurking on Vancouver Island.

This is the question Laura Palmer seeks to answer as she investigates the cases of five missing men in season two of her Island Crime podcast, Gone Boys.

B.C., she notes in one of her episodes, is a hot spot for missing people. In a 2019 article in the Toronto Star, reporter Jeremy Nuttall said about 2,500 people have gone missing and stayed missing in B.C. since records started being kept decades ago. That’s more than a third of the approximately 7,000 cases nationwide.

And, adult men are the most likely category of people to stay missing, Kevin O’Shea of the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains tells Palmer.

Laura Palmer hosts the true crime podcast Island Crime. (Courtesy of Laura Palmer)

READ ALSO: A look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

In her podcast, Palmer works to make the men she is reporting on more than tragic statistics. Her storytelling is in-depth and victim focused. It’s riveting, but not sensationalized.

“I have a responsibility to be respectful and to get it right,” Palmer said. “I need to be able to look these people in the eye and feel like I’ve done their stories justice.”

Palmer spent nearly three decades working at the CBC before moving to Vancouver Island, but the reporting she does now is different than the current affairs and public policy she had been steeped in. Without daily deadlines, she can spend as long as she needs to speak with the friends and family of the missing men and learn their stories.

What Palmer does learn is that each of the men were vulnerable. Brain injury, trauma, mental illness, drug addiction and disability forced them into the margins of their communities. They often had unstable living conditions and several of them would walk or bike along the highway to get from place to place.

In each of her episodes, Palmer focuses on one of the cold cases, weaving in expertise from criminologists, coroners, community leaders, psychologists and the RCMP. And, in each one, she works to determine whether these men are alive and don’t want to be found, fell victim to an accident, chose to end their own lives or, if something more sinister is afoot.

The missing men are:

• Kelly Mcleod, missing since October 2019 from Campbellton (in Campbell River)

• Brandon Cairney, missing since October 2017 from Port Alberni

• Daniel MacDonnell, missing since December 2016 from Port Alberni

• Ian Henry, missing since August 2015 from North Cowichan/Duncan

• Desmond Peter, missing since March 2007 from North Cowichan/Duncan

In her final episode released on Monday (March 29) Palmer didn’t draw any conclusions, but did reveal that she’s receiving constant tips and new information from people listening to her podcast. Several people claim to know a serial killer.

So far, police have refused to share details with Palmer, but she assured listeners that if that changes or if she is able to corroborate new details, she will release more episodes.

Gone Boys and Palmer’s first Island Crime season, Where is Lisa, can be found at islandcrime.ca.

READ ALSO: Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

missing personPodcast

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park

The suspect has been remanded in custody until their next court appearance on April 19.

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion spotted in bizarre area of remote Holberg Road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road Monday, April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Port Hardy Minor Hockey logo
Port Hardy Minor Hockey hands out year-end awards

The ‘Outstanding Parent Volunteer Award’ went to Kimberly Hunt and Blair Isaac.

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

Most Read