A routine audit of police cold cases led to the discovery of a Canadian man who’s been missing for nearly four decades and has secretly started a new life in the United States.
His American family, including a wife and son in Oklahoma, were unaware that the man they knew as Jeff Walton was living under an assumed identity.
The CBC reports this week:
Ontario Provincial Police in Middlesex County said in September 1977 that Ronald Stan, 32 at the time, was reported missing following a barn fire in the former Township of East Williams, 35 kilometres west of London.
Canadian courts declared Stan dead in 1986. He abandoned a wife and two children in Ontario, an uncle told the Ontario Star.
CTV News reports, in July of this year, a routine audit of the investigation by Middlesex Ontario Provincial Police uncovered Stan’s whereabouts after 37 years. He is now living as Jeff Walton Sr. in Oklahoma.
Police were not forthcoming with the details about how they tracked Stan down, but, according to the Star, he has a family in Oklahoma that had no idea about his Canadian past.
“There’s a lot that’s available to us now for investigative tools that wasn’t available to us back in 1977,” Const. Laurie Houghton told the Star. “As a result, we were able to connect the dots, essentially, and lead us to the state of Oklahoma.”
Houghton also would not reveal why Stan had gone missing or where in Oklahoma he was living.
“I’m still trying to put all the puzzle pieces together myself,” Stan’s American son, Jeff Walton Jr. told the Star. “It’s been tough on me, but he’s still my father. It doesn’t change the man I knew for 35 years.”
Stan’s American wife filed for divorce after she found out about his past, Walton Jr. said.
Police said no criminal charges are expected to be filed in relation to the case.