Dylan Norman John Ehler (Missing Child)
Alternative Name: Unknown
La Apoda: Desconocido
Nombres alternativos: Desconocido
Missing from: Elizabeth Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Missing: May 6, 2020 (Wednesday)
Falta de: Elizabeth Street, Truro, Nueva Escocia, Canadá
Falta en la fecha: 6 de mayo de 2020 (miércoles)
Little Dylan Ehler is an sweet and energetic child. Like many his age, he loves racing around with his toy cars and planes and is a rough-and-tumble boy, always quick to head outside to play whenever possible. He likes watching Paw Patrol and reading “The Cat and the Hat’ – their adventures laying the foundation for his own active mind. He is a sturdy child, quick to get up again whenever he falls, and always ready to throw himself into things with excitement.
2020 was a cruel period for most of the world and proved particularly difficult for the Ehler family. Stress levels were running high as May approached with Canada in full lockdown and both parents struggling to meet ends meet. Arguments at home with their neighbor was further complicating matters, and eventually everything came to a head. One morning, after waking up to their neighbor accusing them of egging his home, Ashley and Jason Ehler ended up in a significant fight. The argument escalated until police were called and the result was a no-contact order from the court until they completed counseling.
At no point has anyone claimed that this argument extended to Dylan or Ashley’s daughter Lily, and police have not connected this dispute with Dylan’s later disappearance. It was a fight between adults that resulted from a tense situation but the children were not involved.
It is in fact only mentioned, because this is apparently the reason why Dylan was visiting his grandmother on that fateful morning of May 6th.
Although Dylan was able to see his father more or less daily, Ashley still needed help from her and Jason’s mothers with babysitting Dylan and Lily while she worked or ran errands. That morning, Dylan and his mom grabbed breakfast at a local coffee shop before heading home. Ashley later received an invitation from a friend to grab a coffee and spend some time catching up, a great chance for a break. Her mother Dorothy agreed to watch Dylan and Ashley dropped him off at Dorothy’s home on Elizabeth Street where he was meant to play for a while before she returned to pick him up.
Although the weather had been nasty recently and the river was running unusually high, that afternoon was nice enough that Dylan’s grandmother took him outside to play in the front yard and to get some fresh air. As energetic as Dylan was, he needed a change to run off some of his excess energy and playing with his grandmother’s puppy promised a fun afternoon.
At approximately 1:15, Dylan was playing nearby when his grandmother turned away for a brief moment to put the puppy on a leash; when she turned back around, Dylan was gone.
Dorothy immediately began searching and reported Dylan missing by 1:20 pm (13:20); police arrived within five minutes. They immediately gathered his information and a search was launched.
Elizabeth Street is a short lane off Queen Street that dead ends rather quickly in an undeveloped area – attractive for a child wanting to hide or explore. Alongside runs Lepper Brook which conjoins with the Salmon River nearby, ultimately flowing into Cobequid Bay downstream. The waters in that area can run fast and with significant force, leaving anyone who does fall in a deadly situation. There were immediate concerns that Dylan may wander too close to either the Brook or the River, and both areas were searched.
Police teams covered garages, sheds, the field, the neighborhood, the brook, and the river in the investigation. The river and brook were full and moving rapidly at the time; however, despite police and firefighters searching the waters, nothing was initially found.
Then, around 7:20pm (19:20), one of Dylan’s boots was located in the Lepper Brook, trapped in the water under a shopping cart. Then his other boot was discovered approximately an hour later in the brook near where it meets the Salmon River. Police fear that if Dylan fell in, he may be have swept as far as Cobequid Bay making recovery difficult. More than sixty people searched the brook using dive teams, thermal-imaging, and underwater tools to complete the search. An amber alert requires evidence that foul play may have been involved, so no amber alert was issued in this case. By May 8, the search had shifted instead to a recovery operation.
The river was running clear a few days later, and search teams were able to see to the bottom; however, no new traces were found. Rescue teams used a mannequin of similar size and weight was placed in Lepper Brook and followed to see where it went in the currents. There was hope that this would tell teams where to look, but nothing appears to have come from the efforts. Finally, on May 12, police informed the family and public that they were ending ground and air searches to focus on the missing persons investigation that was initiated when Dylan vanished.
There have been sharing rumors regarding Dylan’s family, and accusations that Dylan’s disappearance was somehow linked to them. There also appear to have been rumors that the boots were not Dylan’s size (size 5 instead of size 7) and a few other discussions that will not be discussed here without evidence (Link). None of these rumors were ever substantiated. (Link).
Although years have passed, Dylan’s family has never given up hope that he will be found. They maintain that there is still a possibility that Dylan was kidnapped or otherwise lost, rather than simply falling into the river. (Link).
“There’s no proof of him going into that water, other than the boots. You can’t assume anything in a case like this.”Jason Ehler (Father) – Source
Although signs suggest Dylan may have fallen into the Brook, the possibility remains that his boots were discarded by someone to throw off an investigation. Nothing else of Dylan’s (clothing, coat, etc.) was ever found. There is also the fact that Police arrived within 5 minutes and a search was immediately launched. Dylan’s shoes were not found until substantially later. The suggestion seems to be that Dylan almost immediately headed straight to the Brook where he fell in within a relatively short time, but both his shoes were conveniently caught and did not wash down in the rapidly moving brook during the several hours before they were found. While certainly feasible, it is not the only possible conclusion and there appears to be no evidence that Dylan did fall in other than the boots.
In August 2020, the reward was increased to $15,000 and his parents issued new requests to the public to report anything that might help bring Dylan home.
The case of Dylan Ehler is an example of when interfering persons and amateur sleuths become the problem rather than the solution. The abuse of and attacks on Dylan’s parents and extended family have crossed into unethical and unjust cruelty. If family members were involved, that is a matter for the police to resolve. There is no scientific, physical evidence to show that the parents or his grandmother were in any way linked to his disappearance. Innocent until proven guilty may be an American concept, but it exists for a reason.
In 2020, we were first drawn to this case when news broke that Dylan’s parents were having to make a public request that people cease stealing flowers from Dylan’s small memorial. According to reports, it happened multiple times. Someone stole an entire pot of flowers and as recent as August 2020 people were still taking individual plants (Link).
Throughout 2020 and the years since, there have been repeated reports that unknown individuals and so-called ‘sleuths’ have been desecrating the memorial, going so far as to ‘dig’ in the area in the search for evidence (Link). The concept of such behavior is intolerable to consider, much less to mention.
The online bullying and in-person harassment became so severe, both Jason and Ashley Ehler were eventually forced to sue owners of various online discussion groups for cyberbullying and abuse (Link). Much like the family of Lina Sardar Khil, the family has received accusations rather than assistance from far too many. This needs to stop.
The Suitcase Detective asks that people report anyone seen desecrating a memorial or cemetery. Such behavior should never be tolerated. Stealing or damaging monuments, decorations, or flowers (real or fake) is absolutely unacceptable. It should also be noted that such behaviors are generally illegal in many countries and participants can be charged with a variety of crimes.
We also want to take an absolutely rigid stance against bullying or in any other way accusing people (family or strangers) of crimes unless you have scientific, physical evidence. Such evidence should be given to police and not discussed online.
- Date of Birth: Unknown
- Age: 3
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
- Nationality: Canada
- Gender at Birth: Male
- Hair: Brunette
- Eye Color: Hazel
- Height: 3’0″ (91.4cm)
- Weight: 32 lbs (14.5kg)
- Languages Spoken: Unknown
- Fecha de Nacimiento: Desconocido
- Años: 3
- Etnia: Caucásico
- Nacionalidad: Canadá
- Sexo al nacer: Masculino
- Cabello: Morena
- Color de los ojos: Avellana
- Altura: 3’0″ (91.4cm)
- Peso: 32 lbs (14.5kg)
- Idiomas: Desconocido
*Images above are age progressed to show how Dylan may appear at age 5 or 6
Distinguishing Marks or Factors (Características Distintivas)
- Right Eye is half hazel and half blue
- El ojo derecho es mitad avellana y mitad azul.
Medical Concerns (Atención Médica)
- Camo Winter Jacket with Fur Hood and USA patches on the arms and chest
- Red Dinosaur T-Shirt
- Camo Jogging Pants
- Grey & Orange Rubber Boots
- Chaqueta de camuflaje de invierno con capucha de pelo y parches de EE. UU. en brazos y pecho
- Camiseta Dinosaurio Roja
- Pantalones de chándal de camuflaje
- Botas de goma grises y naranjas
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact:
- Truro Police
- (902) 895-5351
- Canada’s Missing
- Crime Stoppers
- Your Nearest Canadian Embassy
- Your National Police
Or use the QR Code (right) to find contact information for various National Police Agencies
- Head Topics Canada (2020) ‘Search for missing 3-year-old boy shifts to recovery operation in Truro, N.S.’, 5 August. Link
- True Crime Society (2020) ‘Dylan Ehler (3) missing from Truro, Nova Scotia’ 13 May. Link.
- Sullivan, H. (2020) ‘Parents of missing Truro boy charged with domestic issues prior to disappearance’, The Chronicle Herald, 20 May. Link
- Sullivan, H. (2020) ‘Search for missing Truro boy switches to ‘recovery mode’’, The Chronicle Herald, 6 May. Link
- The Chronicle Herald (2020) ‘Dylan Ehler still missing despite continued search efforts’, 15 May. Link
- The Chronicle Herald (2020) ‘Searchers to deploy mannequin in attempt to find Dylan’, 13 May. Link
- Jerrett, A. and Belliveau, S. (2020) ”Just completely heartbroken’: Dylan Ehler’s parents remain hopeful boy will be found’, Atlantic, 14 May. Link
- Jerrett, A. (2020) ‘RECOVERY EFFORT FOR MISSING N.S. BOY DYLAN EHLER WILL CONTINUE OVER THE WEEKEND’, iHeartRadio, 8 May. Link
- Sullivan, H. (2020) ‘Reward increased for missing Truro boy’, SaltWire, 5 August. Link
- Egan, L. (2020) ‘MISSING: Grandmother ‘turned her back for a minute’ and little boy was gone. Frantic 2nd day of searching continues.’, Crime Online, 7 May. Link
- CBC (2020) ‘Search ends for missing Truro 3-year-old, police do not suspect foul play’, 12 May. Link
- Woodbury, R. (2020) ‘3 months after Dylan Ehler went missing, his parents renew plea for tips’, CBC, 3 August. Link
- Cooke, A. (2021) ‘Search continues Saturday for Truro, N.S., toddler missing for more than a year’, Global News, 26 June, Link.
- Cooke, A. (2022) ‘Truro police release age-progressed pictures of missing child Dylan Ehler’, Global News, 1 November, Link.
- Wentzell, S. and MacInnis, J. (2022) ‘More than two years after disappearance, a new sketch revives hopes to locate Dylan Ehler’, CTV News, 4 November, Link.
- Missing Persons Center, Link.
- Laidlaw, K. (2021) ‘Rain Boots, Turning Tides, and the Search for a Missing Boy’, Wired, 9 September, Link.
- Elfer, H. (2021) ‘Dylan Ehler: Parents want changes to missing child alerts after five-year-old son’s disappearance’, The Independent, 22 November, Link.
- Please Bring Me Home, Link
- True North. True Crime (2022) ‘Missing: Dylan Ehler’, December, Link
- Status: Pending (2021) ‘Case Overview: Dylan Ehler (2020)’, November, Link
- Nighttime (2021) ‘What Happened to Dylan Ehler’ November, (Part 1) (Part 2).
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