_On Saturday September, 17, 1966, Diane Prevost disappeared while her family was camping at Grundy Provincial Park. Diane was playing on the beach, and would not go near the lake, as she was afraid of the water. Diane wanted to return to the trailer at the campsite, which was about 500 feet from the beach. Her father indicated he would take her back, but when he turned to do so, she was no longer on the beach. The family began to look for her immediately, and after an hour contacted the police for assistance. Despite an extensive search of the park and the lake, Diane was not found and has not been seen since.
Jun 08, 2011 - 12:01 PM
Family believes daughter, sister still alive
Family believes daughter, sister still alive. Diane Prévost when she was two years old. Submitted photo
ST. CHARLES - Bernard and Claire Prévost's home is nestled by the water of St. Charles, a small, French-language community southeast of Sudbury.
The Prévost's children, now adults, Claude, Joanne, Lise and Richard, spend a few minutes in early April catching up, laughing and enjoying the weather, talking country music and plans for the summer.
Bernard and Claire joke with their children about the bumpy roads that twist and turn leading up to their home putting any vehicle's suspension to the test.
The group stops their conversation to watch a brave dog who'd ventured out onto the thin ice that was left on the water by the Prévost's home. It is a typical Saturday for the family, except there is one person missing - Diane.
Diane was two-years-old the last time the Prévosts saw her, when she disappeared from the Ren Maple section of Grundy Provincial Park during a family camping trip in 1966.
The family, alongside search teams, scoured the park that night and found no trace of the toddler. Forty-five years later, the Prevosts are still looking.
The camping trip
Her parents describe her as terrified of water, which is why on September 17, 1966, while Bernard fished and the other children played in the sand by the water, Diane kept her distance, and asked to be taken back to the campsite, where her grandparents were. In the short time it took Bernard to untangle his fishing line, Diane was gone.
Thinking she might have wandered the 500 feet back to the site without him, Bernard checked there first - no luck.
According to Bernard and Claire, Diane disappeared at 4 p.m. and by 5 p.m. they realized they needed to call for help.
(The police) came and searched, Bernard said. I got in the car and drove around trying to find her. I asked the police to put alerts out at Canadian borders.
His request was turned down.
(Police) said they would find her in the park.
Finding out who was camping in the park on the day Diane went missing, was next to impossible.
It was off-season and there was no one there (running the park) during the day, said Bernard. Someone would come around and collect money from campers at night.
The search, which broke up after dark, continued the following morning and for a month afterwards. Family, friends, and other local residents pitched in.
People in the community were amazing, Joanne said.
Search groups included divers using more than 10 tanks of oxygen per day, Bernard recalled. And bloodhounds, the Prevosts were told, followed Diane?s scent to the parking lot - where it stopped.
A missing person with missing files
Twenty years passed, and relatively no new information was brought forward on Diane's case.
I went back for about five or six years, said Bernard.
Claire noted police asked her husband to leave annual search efforts alone.
They told him they would call him if they found something,she said.
In an attempt to re-examine the case, the family requested a case file, which they later learned was lost.
According to the family, a new file was created and an officer assigned to the case, which has since been passed down to North Bay OPP officer Yvon Perron.
The case is currently in the OPP database for missing persons.
Living without Diane
Its like a movie, said Claude. You never think it is going to happen to you or your family.
The Prévost family unanimously agrees - she is out there.
Not knowing where out there, Lise said, is hard.
I always wonder how her life turned out to be, she said. I always wished that the people that took her, well, that she had a good life.... I still have a hard time.
For a short time after Diane went missing, Claire and Bernard were faced with some negative backlash in the midst of dealing with the loss of their daughter.
My teacher had said my parents sold my sister because they were driving a new car, Joanne said. A car that was given to them by my grandparents.
People will make up the truth, Bernie said, and shrugged.
Family life continued, and even now the four children point fingers at who was the worst behaved - Richard, who was born after Diane's disappearance, was the consensus.
According to his mother, who would sometimes find Claude sleeping in the crib with her youngest, the other children, all a year apart in age, were very protective of Richard.
He had four mothers, said Lise, now a parent and grandparent herself.
The loss of Diane continues to affect their lives.
I had both of my children fingerprinted when they were very young, she said.
Claude, Richard, Joanne, and Lise agree, a missing sibling has urged them to take extra precaution with their children.
When I used to be at the grocery store, I would be afraid to let my kids out of my sight, Lise said.
Diane's parents remember Diane as a happy two-year-old who loved to match her clothing, and kick off her shoes.
Even when she was outside she wanted to go barefoot, said Bernard. She was a good kid.
COLD CASE: Diane Prevost vanished 43 years ago
Forensic sketch offers family new hope
By ROB LAMBERTI, SUN MEDIA
Posted 1 year ago
Almost 43 years have passed since two-year-old Diane Prevost, of Blezard Valley, vanished during a family camping trip.
On Sept. 17, 1966, the toddler disappeared after telling her dad she wanted to return to the family trailer, about 150 metres from the dock where her father was fishing.
When her dad, Bernard, turned about a minute later to walk with his daughter, who was afraid of water, the little girl was gone, never to be seen again.
And yesterday, forensic artist Diana Trepkov, who helped solve murders and disappearances with her art on both sides of the border, showed off her sketch of Diane as she would look today.
Far from the idyllic camping trip the family anticipated, that day led to a lifetime of not knowing what happened to the child after her mysterious disappearance in to Grundy Lake Provincial Park between Sudbury and Parry Sound.
"It's the not knowing," said sister, Joanne, who was five when Diane disappeared.
"You never know what happened."
For her parents, Bernard and Claire, "every time you look at a kid, (they asked) 'Is it mine? Is it her?' " Joanne said.
"We just believe she's still alive," her other sister, Lise, 46, said yesterday.
The family always believed the little girl was abducted and raised by whomever took her.
Diane's mom believes that to be the case.
"It started off as a nice weekend, but it ended up as a nightmare for us," Claire said, before turning away.
"A lot of people remember because it was the first incident of child abduction in the north," Lise said. "A child just doesn't disappear within a minute. Someone was watching us that day. She was there one minute and gone the next, so somebody had to be close by and was waiting for an opportunity to take her."
OPP searched the park and divers scoured the lake. They took apart the dock. Nothing was found.
The case has been revived with the posting of Diane's disappearance on websites, including Facebook and missing-u.ca.
Divers searched again in May but found nothing, OPP Det.- Insp. Jeff Bahm said yesterday.
"It's a case that's still open," he said.
Trepkov, who was contacted by Lise by e-mail, also feels that Diane is alive.
"When I read (the e-mail), automatically I had this overwhelming feeling of wanting to help," she said.
"I feel very good. Hopefully, good closure.
"Facial age progressions are 75% science, 25% art, so it's important the artist doesn't get carried away with the artistic side," Trepkov said.
"One important thing I concentrate on are the eyes. I believe the eyes are the mirror of the soul and I keep them," she said.
After a certain age, "gravity takes over, and at 40, the double chin starts to appear, the nose gets droopier, the ears get larger," said Trepkov, the only Canadian among 26 forensic artists certified through the International Association for Identification.
"We have hope that someone will recognize her," Lise said. "I don't know if we'll be successful, but we have hope."
If you have any information concerning the disappearance of Diane or
If you believe to be Diane please email us at [email protected]