THE INVESTIGATION WEEK
TWO Part 8:
"SPOKESPERSON" ENTER EDMONTON POLICE - GETTING THE CAMBODIANS
"You asked me whether Cambodian
authorities have declared Mr. Walker’s disappearance a criminal affair,
a question I wasn’t able to answer..."
It was now into the second week since Dave Walker
disappeared on the afternoon of Friday, February 14, 2014 in Siem Reap.
Eleven days had passed and Dave Walker's room had not been sealed
as a crime scene, his belonging, his laptop and digital camera remained
in the room, no police investigators surveyed the scene of his
disappearance, nobody was taking statements, seeking out witnesses or collecting evidence.
Nothing seemed to be happening in Cambodia.
In the wake of the Thayer debacle the night before
with Canada Foreign Affairs, Tammy Madon, Dave Walker's family
next-of-kin appointed me as sole
spokesperson. [ See Page 10 ]
My contact at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Development (DFATD) was
Jean-Francois Parizeau, a Consular Services Desk
Officer in Ottawa responsible for the South East Asia region. That
Tuesday morning we had a long telephone conversation. At the end of the
day Parizeau sent me the below e-mail summarizing our conversation.
Parizeau continued the original "Nate Thayer Dave Walker"
e-mail thread that he had first forwarded to me, for the remainder of our future
correspondence. At the bottom of each e-mail between myself and Parizeau, would be
Thayer's moronic e-mail hanging there like rotting fruit.
It was my first day as "spokesman" and I could see from
the e-mail this was going to be heavy going.
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:05 PM
To: Peter Vronsky
Cc: Tammy Madon
Subject: RE: Nate Thayer Dave Walker
It was good talking to you and I
look forward to our ongoing collaboration.
As we both agreed it would be easier
to communicate by email from now on, I thought you would
appreciate receiving a summary of our discussion.
I reiterated that we are currently
working on establishing a police liaison contact in
Canada for persons wishing to provide any additional
information. It was brought to my attention today that
since Mr. Walker has been living abroad for an extended
period of time; we would try to arrange a police liaison
contact point in the city of residence of the next of
kin. The RCMP also indicated that the police preference
is normally to interact with a family member. Tammy was
reached shortly after our phone conversation and she
agreed to be the main point of contact with the police
liaison. I have already communicated this information to
the RCMP and the Edmonton Police Service has agreed to
undertake the role of being a family point of contact.
The liaison officer is:
Constable Jim Gurney
Edmonton Police Service
Cst Gurney's will be in touch with
Tammy later today.
You asked me whether Cambodian
authorities have declared Mr. Walker’s disappearance a
criminal affair, a question I wasn’t able to answer, but
as I suggested this is something that could be discussed
with the police liaison. Indeed, I would suggest
that you ask Tammy to convey your experience regarding
Cambodian law enforcement authorities, including your
concerns with respect to why the case has yet to be
declared a criminal matter (and possible failure to
investigate), the possibility of Cambodian police
involvement in Mr. Walker’s disappearance and the need
to secure his room/personal belongings, as well as the
need for a thorough search and limiting access to the
room to the police liaison contact as these are police
I would also encourage you to bring
forward your thoughts with respect to the circumstances
of Mr. Walker’s disappearance, namely: that his
disappearance has nothing to do with drugs or an affair;
that Mr. Walker is sociable, speaks Khmer and would
consequently have been seen by merchants or other people
on the street if he would have taken his usual road to
reach the restaurant where he eats; that being a
well-trained former UK military officer, you believe he
would have thrown the bottle of water he was carrying if
he had been forced to enter a vehicle in an attempt to
leave a trace of himself; that because Mr. Walker wasn’t
seen on the street, you think the incident happened not
very far from his hotel. This may all be relevant
from a police perspective. DFATD, however, does
not have a role to play in police investigations.
Similarly, the police liaison
contact can also address your question about whether the
Cambodian authorities may decide to waive their
jurisdiction in order to either collaborate with a
Canadian law enforcement agency or have the RCMP take
the lead on an investigation.
I also clarified that the Embassy
has not hired a private investigator.
You asked if the DFATD is
withholding information from the family. I advised
that the steps that have already been taken (in
particular, seeking high level engagement by Cambodian
officials and urging authorities to continue with their
active engagement in this case) were relayed to Tammy in
writing or by the phone. I also explained the
consular mandate and our limitations (i.e. we are not an
investigative body and the investigation is handled by
Cambodian authorities) as shared in my previous email. I
also alluded to the inability to share information
between the two organizations (DFATD and RCMP) with
regards to the specifics of the case until we have
T: 613-944-3307 | F: 613-996-5358
Desk | Bureau B3-113
Edmonton Police Missing Persons Unit
The news that finally a Canadian police agency was
getting involved made us dizzy with hope after eleven days of
nothing happening. On the other hand, we were burnt the week
before when we thought "the cavalry" was coming and instead a
Vice-Consul from Bangkok paid a short visit to Siem Reap and apparently did
nothing about getting a sworn statement from the man reporting Dave's
disappearance, Sonny Chhoun, or securing Dave's things
in the hotel room, especially his laptop and camera which potentially
contained evidence of Dave's recent activities. [See
Page 7] Tammy Madon, had been under the impression that the
Canadian embassy had retained a private investigator, but Parizeau
dismissed that notion.
Police were chosen because Dave's immediate family, his cousin Tammy Madon lived in
Edmonton, and it made sense that the nearest police agency to the
next-of-kin be chosen to be the police "agency of record." After
speaking with Parizeau, I eagerly phoned Constable Jim Gurney of the Edmonton Police Service and
Gurney was at the time the head of Edmonton PD's missing persons
Within a minute of talking with him, my heart sank. Firstly,
Edmonton Police were not going to be initiating any investigation; they
were merely taking a "missing persons" report into their system and
acting as a liaison with Cambodian police, if and when,
Cambodian police choose to contact them.
Police would act as a central repository of any information collected in
Canada or coming from Canadians on Dave's disappearance, but there was
nothing they could actually do with that information proactively, Gurney
informed me, unless the Cambodians asked for it. Gurney
immediately dissuaded me of any hopes or illusions
that Edmonton police would be directly engaged in any way in the investigation.
They were merely, Gurney warned me, a conduit of information between Canada
and the Cambodian Police.
"Too bad he didn't disappear in Mexico..."
Gurney told me that before this would become a
criminal investigation, authorities would first have to clear up "what
did not happen" to Dave; they would need to determine that Dave did
not choose to vanish, that he was not injured and in a hospital, that he did
not run off with a woman, etc. Moreover, Gurney told me he had dozens of
local missing persons cases in Edmonton, and some of them had not floated
forward a single clue in 18 months or two years, since the person
had been reported missing. And that was at home in Edmonton! Cambodia was
going to be a much tougher going, he said. He explained that there would
be no criminal investigation until they finished investigating "what did
not happen" to Dave.
A contact of mine very familiar with Canadian police
liaison procedures in investigation of the deaths of Canadians abroad,
and specifically familiar with the current Cambodian police, advised me
with a heavy tone of irony, "Too bad he didn't disappear in Mexico where
things are all in good order and we have a history of liaisoning with
Mexican police in the murders of Canadian tourists and visitors down
there. We know who needs to be bribed. Unfortunately Cambodia is not as
civilized and transparent as Mexico." It was not a reassuring
thing to hear considering how anarchic a state Mexico is in, that
Cambodia is far worse.
Cambodian-Canadian connection paper trail to
I immediately told Gurney that we had information
that current Canadian citizens of Cambodian origin, former refugees from
the 1980s who had returned to Cambodia in the 2000s and established
businesses over there, Chandy "Andy" Long and Salao Mao,
had been meeting with Dave two days prior to his disappearance to
discuss business of an unknown nature and that Dave was supposed to have
gone to another meeting with them on day of his disappearance, but did
not show up reportedly. [See Page 3]
One of them, identified by Dave's business partner Sonny Chhoun,
was Salao Mao who had lived in a house that Dave
once owned in Canada. I suggested that perhaps a evidentiary paper-trail
can be unearthed in Canada leading back to Dave's disappearance, if
indeed the house proved to be of significance.
perked Gurney's interest. He was not aware that there was a possible
Canadian connection to Dave's disappearance in Cambodia, having been
just assigned the case. Gurney asked me to furnish him all the
available details. That could be a game changer.
I said I would update him on
the latest information available and prepare a formal statement on everything I know later that day. We discussed perhaps
conferencing the Canadian Cambodian connection with the RCMP, or OPP in
Ontario. Now I turned to Richard Ehrlich for an
update on the investigation I had been told was making progress in
Cambodia in order that I could better brief the Edmonton Police and the
RCMP if such a conference was going to take place.
"there are *no* new developments on that
Three days earlier, Richard Ehrlich asked me not to
contact Sonny and to take down my lure of Salao Mao on Facebook because
"I have been told that we should not make it public... while they
search it themselves instead of having others..." [See
Page 6] He had sent me the following request which I
complied with immediately.
From Richard Ehrlich
Date: February 23, 2014
Could you also please
*erase* any mention of *Salao Mao* because i have now been told
that we should not make it publicly known on facebook or email
or among the public or even the angels that we know that is the
name of the guy who we were earlier calling *sao lao*. that
seems to be one of the biggest things -- keeping that name out
of public domain entirely while they search it themselves
instead of having others who will make him aware of being looked
In the two days that followed I no longer received
any further updates as to what had developed with Salao Mao.
Thayer had suggested on the phone on Sunday when we spoke that it was a
'dead end' and I need
not further look into the house in Keswick. I was pretty
frustrated pulling the lure off Facebook because when I had posted it, it
immediately within minutes brought in new information.
While Thayer and Ehrlich seemed to argue for
suppressing it in the name of investigative confidentiality, I thought
their understanding of strategic investigative confidentiality was
amateurish. It's a very common practice in investigations when a
suspect is known to police to actually manipulate and panic the suspect
into exposing and incriminating themselves by strategically releasing
certain information and misinformation into the public domain where the
suspect will become aware of it and react to it. That was the strategy I adopted
with Salao Mao on Facebook. Salao Mao from the phone calls put to
him by Sonny, was already aware "of being looked for." There was no
benefit to concealing our interest in him, in fact, if Dave was alive,
it would be detrimental to Dave's safety for us to conceal our awareness
of Salao Mao. If he had anything to do with Dave's
disappearance, and Dave was still alive, I wanted Salao Mao to know we
were already on to him. "Dave better be alive than not, when we come
for you" would be the message directed to anybody holding Dave.
Only in deference and respect to people I thought were "in the field" I
complied with Ehrlich's request immediately when he made it and I pulled the lure from
the Find Dave Walker Facebook Page that Sunday.
Now I needed an update from Ehrlich and Thayer on what we have achieved
since I dropped the lure and asked for one repeatedly. After
ignoring previous requests, Ehrlich finally replied, invoking the typical bureaucrat scoundrel's refuge
"the need to know" in responding to my request for an update.
He stated to me that there were "no new developments." Instead he asked me for
the RCMP contact claiming that "it can be given to someone who may appear
with actual on-the-ground information, who wants to be speak immediately
the RCMP... there are some people who would need that direct RCMP
contact now..." I was beginning to smell bullshit in these e-mail
Subject: Person of Interest
Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM
To: thayer nate ~ <email@example.com>, tammy ~Richard
Ehrlich, glossograph ~ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Can one you guys please send me that update I asked for earlier
for on*S*[Sonny] and on *M* [Salao Mao] the other individual
whose photo I posted on Facebook and removed at your request as I
am going into conference soon with the RCMP with all the traffic
I collected over the weekend, in particular with
here confirming on the Facebook Page that he was in contact with
I need to know why you asked me to take that
lure down. What was going on and what is the current status and
conclusion. There is a possibility of us generating a paper
trail back to Cambodia with possible real-estate dealing Dave
had with this individual herein Ontario.
From: Richard Ehrlich
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:58 PM
To: vronsky ~ ; tammy ~ ; thayer nate ~ ; glossograph ~
Subject: vronsky ~ *person of interest = a person to person
the *only* reason the information was not to be on *facebook*
because it was not to be in the *public domain* and only for a
*need to know* basis.
there are *no* new developments on that front.
when you have some free time, however, could you please email me
least *one* RCMP contact, so that whoever out here may want to
*directly* to the RCMP can?
all i would need is *one* RCMP
that way, it can be given to someone who may appear with actual
on-the-ground information, who wants to be speak immediately
the RCMP, and not to facebook, the media *cc* list, or anyone
even withing the various *inner circle* email conversations.
there are some people who would need that direct RCMP contact
please soon as possible if you have.
*a closed sesame seed*
There was other bullshit that only made sense to me afterwards.
Nate Thayer had been falsely claiming to people that he was in charge of
the investigation and the sole family spokesperson and advisor, except I did
not know that until later when I pieced together what happened to the
investigator Peter Slade. [See Page 8]
Thayer had threatened to advise people in Cambodia not to
cooperate with Peeter Slade and throw other roadblocks into his way if Slade
attempted to come to Siem Reap to help us with the search for Dave.
After Thayer was fired as my co-spokesperson, and we had that stormy
exchange of "cocksucker" e-mail, [See Page
10] Ehrlich sent me this
e-mail that speaks for itself (between the lines of its, again, strangely
From: Richard Ehrlich
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 1:13 AM
To: thayer nate ~ ; vronsky ~ ; tammy ~ ; glossograph ~
Subject: thayer *a closed sesame seed*
the good news is that *none* of the *appointment of advisors
/spokespersons* was ever made public.
eye did not send any of that initial info to anyone.
so who you are, and what your ephemeral titles are/were, have
been known to the outside world on the *cc* list.
eye mention this now, because there is no need to tell the *cc*
to *correct* any previous statement.
sort of like the *mummy* inside the pyramid.
there was no abdul-abdul person saying *open sesame* to your
so all that is fortunately still mute, concealed by dusty
under the file name: *a closed sesame seed*.
and there it shall remain.
With no cooperation from Ehrlich and Thayer, I
filed a statement with the Edmonton Police with as much information as I
had collected. It began like this:
STATEMENT PETER VRONSKY FEB 26, 2014
I am a professor of history at Ryerson University in Toronto
and an author working under the name PETER VRONSKY. I am a
former investigative journalist.
I have been a friend and colleague of Dave Walker for nearly
twenty-five years and the strangest thing I ever saw him do
was buy a house in Keswick, Ontario...
In it I described what I thought was for Dave the
unusual purchase of a house in Keswick and the strange coincidence that
one of the people he had apparently been meeting with at the time of his
disappearance, having lived in it. (I have chosen not publish my statement in
full here to the Edmonton Police in order to preserve its integrity should an
investigation into Dave's death be undertaken by Canadian
authorities in the futured.)
Getting the Cambodians to move: "If the
police in Cambodia did not have anything directly to do with Dave's
disappearance, then they will know whose cousin on the force did."
In the meantime, Jim Gurney was telling me that
Edmonton Police had not been contacted by the Cambodian authorities.
My informants in Siem Reap were reporting that no
Cambodian police activity of note was taking place. Dave's belongings were still in
the hotel room, the room had not been sealed as a crime scene, no police
investigators had surveyed the location of Dave's last sighting, nobody
was interviewing local shopkeepers, tuk-tuk drivers or street vendors in the
vicinity of Dave's disappearance, nobody was showing recent photos
of Dave to locals, nothing was being done. There were no posters
that Sonny Chhoun was claiming he was hanging in Siem Reap, Chhoun still
had Dave's cell phone in his position and nobody had taken a formal
statement from the one person who first noted and reported Dave Walker's
disappearance and its circumstances and timeline.
The advice I received from people who
were involved in recently training the Cambodian police was that the best way to
get them to move was either to "very generously" bribe the right officials (Siem Reap
police because of the massive tourist trade visiting
Angkor Wat was particularly corrupt with large sums of money changing
hands) or threaten them with losing face. As one person put it to
me, "If the police in Cambodia did not have anything directly to do with
Dave's disappearance, then they will know whose cousin on the force
With Tammy's approval I drafted my first public statement
and update since I became the spokesperson. In it I addressed the
issue of Nate Thayer having been fired, putting it in a face-saving
context that Department of Foreign Affairs only wanted "one
spokesperson" and expressed both mine and Tammy Madon's confidence in him, in the hope that it would smooth his ruffled
feathers. I described the pessimistic outlook from Canada Department of
Foreign Affairs as to how much they will be able to do inside of
Cambodia. I then quoted some of my sources on the lack of apparent
movement by the Cambodian police and made the quotes sharable with the
intention of them coming to the Cambodian authorities' attention in the
hope that it will spur them to avoid further embarrassment and save face
by initiating a proper professional and transparent investigation, at
least, as far as Cambodians were capable of it.
Subject: DAVE WALKER CASE UPDATE FEB 26
THIS IS PUBLIC TO BE FORWARDED AND SHARED EVERYWHERE
Peter Vronsky, Phd
Ryerson University Toronto, Canada
+1 (xxx) xxx-xxxx
February 25, 2014
On Sunday night Dave Walker's cousin Tammy Wallbridge-Madon
Thayer and myself to be "spokespeople" for the family for the
receiving the little information Foreign Affairs Canada has to
Monday, at the last minute Foreign Affairs asked Tammy to
nominate only one
person instead of two, and as I am here in Canada, Tammy
All this means, is that I have authority to share with you and
the press the same information
being shared by Foreign Affairs with the family -- which is very
without Foreign Affairs incurring liability for violating Dave's
rights. I do not have any kind of special access to Foreign
Affairs or to
the progress in Dave's case beyond the information being shared
This does not limit any confidence or authority vested by Tammy
Thayer to investigate Dave's disappearance or speak and counsel
or any authority on behalf of Dave Walker. Nate Thayer has my
absolute confidence and sanction for everything he is currently
find Dave Walker.
Tammy, myself, and Nate are concerting together on strategy, in
with Dave's friends and our various individual contacts and
welcome all contact.
Until we receive instructions from the police agency
case, please archive or send to or cc me any info, rumour,
information, misinformation, dreams, gut feelings, hunches,
spiritual visits, signs and
everything and anything else to: email@example.com
I will do my best to archive this information in a chronology
that will make
it easier for an investigation to later sort the signal-to-noise
Summary of Foreign Affairs Briefing of Peter Vronsky -
Feb 25, 2014 - 12:00 PM EST
From Jean Francois Parizeau, the South East Asia Desk in Ottawa
"case officer" in Ottawa for Dave's disappearance.
This is Canada's *official line* (and please do not kill the
messenger, I am
just delineating what their official position is, for a starting
1. Canada has expressed its concern with the disappearance of
Dave Walker to
the Foreign Ministry of Cambodia and to its police authorities
in Siem Reap
and had sent Second Secretary and Vice Consul Allison Catmur
Bangkok Embassy to deliver this message to authorities in Siem
person. She was there Friday and Saturday on the seventh and
since Dave's disappearance or the fourth and fifth day since
received from family notification of Dave Walkers disappearance.
2. Canada has *no* jurisdictional authority in Cambodia and must
Cambodian authorities to investigate this matter. Cambodian
have not declared this a "criminal" investigation and therefore
Walker's room at the hotel and the vicinity is not being
as a crime scene. Ms. Catmur reported she had no authority to
property into her custody to bring back with her to Bangkok
Cambodian authorities declare this will not be a criminal
3. As of 1:00 PM Toronto time, some 12 days since Dave Walker's
disappearance, Cambodia has not communicated to Bangkok Embassy
has become a "criminal" investigation.
4. Government of Canada investigators will not be involved
"boots on the
ground" in the investigation in Cambodia *unless* Cambodia
invites them or
asks for their help officially.
5. Canada Foreign Affairs will *not* have *formal* authority to
any Cambodian police investigation -- Canadian police will
function in that
capacity -- once (and if) the Cambodian authorities declare it a
6. Canada Foreign Affairs is arranging to establish a Canadian
contact point for Dave Walker's family. Will update once that is
we understand how that contact will function.
<<<<OFF RECORD INFORMATION GATHERED BY ME FROM RELIABLE SOURCES
1. Cambodia will *never* consent to Canadian police leading
or investigating in Cambodia *if* asked to do so by Canada.
2. At best if Cambodian police had nothing directly to do with
disappearance, *they know everything* about it.
3. There will *never* be an actual investigation by Cambodian
FUTURE OUTLOOK IN MY OPINION:
1. Foreign Affairs will now sit and wait for response on
investigation status from Cambodian Police AND LIKELY DO NOTHING
*They feel* they have done everything they can. Remember, this
is not the
same as what *we feel*, however, please understand that
diplomacy is a very
formal ritual dance, and the steps are tightly choreographed.
Affairs *might* being doing more in back channels but we will
not be privy
to this if they are. This will be denied.
We should identify two pressure points, public, media and
private, on Canada
and on Cambodia.
(1) On Canada to call on Cambodia to declare this a criminal
and then lobby Cambodia to immediately ask Canada for
investigative help and
(2) On Cambodia to declare this a criminal investigation and to
ask Canada for investigative help and resources.
This may be through media, private and public lobbying, protest,
Cambodia and Canada and the world.
Peter Vronsky, Phd
Ryerson University Toronto
+1 (xxx) xxx-xxxx
Tammy Madon had reviewed the draft of the above
statement and approved it a day prior to its release.
From: Tammy Madon
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:21 AM
To: 'Peter Vronsky'
Subject: RE: Draft of Update
This is a good draft , very well put together.
Talk to you tomorrow.
I’ve left a message for Constable Jim Gurney at the Edmonton
Police Dept. 780-421-2202 requesting his assistance in pushing
this towards a criminal investigation if he can.
He is from the missing persons dept. so he may not have much
power to do anything other than follow up on leads and updates.
"Now, in other news,
fighting erupted in Turkey..."
In response I received this bizarrely long and
evolved e-mail from Ehrlich, in which he seemed to have expended an
enormous amount of energy into writing, I
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:25 AM
To: vronsky ~ ; tammy ~ ; thayer nate ~ ; glossograph ~
Subject: TAMMY & VRONSKY & THAYER
greetings tammy & vronsky & thayer,
vronsky, your *public* and *quotable and sharable* statements
my humble unsolicited opinion, *not good* for the current
situation that the investigation is now at, and it is *not good*
you have emailed to the various journalists and others on your
there are many ways i could explain this to you, but you have
heeded my previous advice to remain *silent* on this case at
so, based on my experience as a foreign correspondent here in
since 1978, perhaps you will understand it if i present *your*
back to *you*, written as the disastrous, and damaging news
you have provided, based *entirely* on *your statements*.
(and please, the following is obvious *not for publication or
distribution*. legally this called a *confidential* email):
-- The spokesman for Tammy Wallbridge-Maldon, the only surviving
next-of-kin of missing Canadian Dave Walker, lashed out and said
Cambodia "will never consent to Canadian police" to investigate
case, and charged that Cambodia's police "know everything" about
"Cambodia will never consent to Canadian police leading [an]
investigation or investigating in Cambodia if asked to do so by
Canada," Peter Vronsky in Toronto said in his first official
to the media after being appointed by Ms. Maldon, cousin of Mr.
"At best if Cambodian police had nothing directly to do with
disappearance, they know everything about it," Mr. Vronsky said
lengthy, rambling e-mail to reporters and the public.
"There will never be an actual investigation by Cambodian
authorities," Mr. Vronsky said.
Ms. Wallbridge-Madon and Mr. Vronsky presented no evidence for
condemning efforts by Canada and Cambodia to find out why Mr.
disappeared in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Feb. 14.
Mr. Vronsky also presented no evidence for charging that
police "know everything" about "Dave's disappearance" but that
will "never be an actual investigation."
The statement by Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman comes one day
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was asked by the Bangkok-based
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) to take a
interest in Mr. Walker's fate.
It was not immediately known how Cambodia's prime minister will
after hearing Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman condemn his
charge them with failing to act even though they "know
about the case.
Mr. Vronsky also said an American journalist, Nate Thayer -- who
risked his life to successfully find and interview Cambodia's
-- was no longer a spokesman for Ms. Wallbridge-Madon.
Vr. Vronsky's statement to the media today was apparently made
Washington-based Mr. Thayer's knowledge beforehand.
Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman also said Canada's foreign
shared "very little" information with them and, "I do not have
kind of special access to [the] Foreign Affairs" officials
It was unclear what prompted Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman to
condemn Cambodia's investigation, only one day after Cambodia's
minister had been updated on the case by the FCC.
There was no indication that Mr. Vronsky had ever spoken
any Cambodian officials or police during February, before making
allegations against them.
Desperate to find out anything, because he had no knowledge of
Canadian and Cambodian officials were doing behind the scenes,
Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman asked journalists and the public to
him "any info, rumour, gossip, information, misinformation,
gut feelings, hunches, spiritual visits, signs and everything
anything else," and provided his e-mail address.
Her spokesman also called for an international "protest" against
Canada and Cambodia to push Ottawa to "lobby Cambodia to
ask Canada for investigative help and resources."
Ms. Wallbridge-Maldon's spokesman also said an international
should be staged to get "Cambodia to declare this a criminal
investigaton and to immediately ask Canada for investigative
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power for decades,
battle-hardened from years as a Khmer Rouge regiment commander
becoming a politician, and is widely known to angrily bristle at
foreign attempts to pressure him to act on any issue.
It was not immediately known if Hun Sen will suddenly comply
Wallbridge-Maldon spokesman's demand and condemnation of his
government and police.
Mr. Vronsky did not say if Ms. Wallbridge-Maldon, who lives with
family in Edmonton, would be leading the international "protest"
against Canada and Cambodia or how it would be organized, but
statement was expected to spread through news media and social
casting a harsher glare upon Ottawa, Cambodia's prime minister,
- ENDS -
Now, in other news, fighting erupted in Turkey...
My response this confusing and rambling e-mail was
irritable. I was beginning to question not only Richard Ehrlich's
judgement, his focus on the challenges at hand, but his sobriety as well.
From: Peter Vronsky
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:42 AM
To: tammy ~ ; thayer nate ~ ; glossograph ~
Subject: Re: TAMMY & VRONSKY & THAYER
"Fighting erupted in Turkey" ? What does that mean?
Who is saying we are "lashing out"?
Your advice was weighed with the answers you provided me to the
sent you, which was "there is no progress."
Nate Thayer of course is only an e-mail and phone call away from
me and my
invitation for him to return my last two phone calls to him,
now as it stood then.
Dave Walker's family is frustrated with Cambodia's lack of a
response to a
disappearance that anywhere else would have been investigated as
matters within 48 hours, considering the circumstances. They are
of miles away and frankly are uninterested in the nuances of the
"way of doing things" -- that is for the Canadian Foreign
Affairs to work
out, and so far the family is unsatisfied with the results. This
become a criminal investigation involving Canadian
Please focus on distributing the release, rather than 'spinning'
some weird and negative way, that so far is only coming from
out" "rambiling" etc. Why are you even wasting your time writing
nonsense spin you have concocted. Where is that even coming
Shortly after this, Richard Ehrlich "unfriended" me
on his Facebook page and removed me from the e-mail threads that he had
been overseeing. Like Lovisa Inserra and who
knows how many others who were contributing to the investigation of
Dave's disappearance, I was now made a persona non grata by
Ehrlich. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it) of Tammy
Madon appointing me as the family spokesperson, when I had been
appointed, Ehrlich removed my name from a long list of contacts
routinely being distributed for media to seek comments or information
from and he and Sonny Chhoun removed my e-mail contact from Dave Walker
I had remained in contact with Sonny Chhoun, on the
premise that if he had anything to do with Dave's disappearance, the
more he remained in contact with us the more the chances he would expose
himself eventually. On the other hand, if he truly was the friend
Dave deserved to have, he would be of great help. I saw it as a
win/win scenario. Again, despite being asked on Sunday by Ehrlich for
reasons unclear to me not to further contact Sonny Chhoun, I now
sent him the following e-mail, appealing to his karmic providential
sense of things.
|From: Peter Vronsky
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:06 PM
To: sonny cambodia ~
Subject: Dave Walker Cell Phone Numbers
Dave’s family has appointed me their spokesman. Foreign Affairs
has asked Edmonton Police, the closest police to where the
family lived, to be the coordinating police agency on the
Canadian side. I am in close contact with the police trying very
hard to convince them not to wait but to look at things here
that may lead to Dave in Cambodia.
I have known Dave for nearly 25 years and the strangest thing I
ever saw him do was buy a house about eight years ago in
Keswick, a small new town about 75 minutes outside of Toronto.
It never made sense because he never wanted a house and
especially not in a town like Keswick. It is a horrible, boring,
place. Not like Dave at all.
I never could understand him buying this house and whenever I
asked him, he was always strangely vague. Because we talked
about everything. It always was a strange thing!!!! It became
almost a game with us. Every few years I would ask him about the
house, and he would smile strangely and say, “yes, I still have
the house” but never say more or invite me to see it. I was in
every place Dave lived except this house. There was always
something strange with it.
When on Sunday I saw the e-mails about the Salao Mao stuff and
started searching the name, I discovered that he was in Dave’s
video. The caption said “Salao in Keswick” I posted that picture
from the video on Facebook, and suddenly
xxxxxxxxxxxxx came on. XXXXXXX
was in Keswick and told me that Salao had been in
contact with Dave just before he vanished. I then asked
yes of course, the family lived in that house!!!!!!!!!
It is like fate or spirits. The strangest thing Dave ever did
and I have no other evidence than just this most strange
co-incidence. I write about crime and murder and there is no
co-incidence really. Everything has a meaning and everything is
telling me that perhaps I thought his buying that house eight
years ago was so so so very strange was so that I would make
these connections this week.
Maybe Salao has nothing to do with Dave going missing himself,
but maybe people Salao was with did or somebody Salao knows and
introduced to Dave.
Cambodian Police might never investigate this. Dave’s family and
I are trying to make Canadian Police not wait for Cambodian and
start investigating now. If not, they may hire their own private
We need your help. I hear you are busy looking for Dave but we
need you to do something very important for Dave. Can you please
send me here the following:
1. Print or type out all the names and phone numbers in Dave’s
2. Print or type out the call logs.
3. Can you write your statement, what you would have told the
police if they interviewed you. From the last times you saw Dave
to now. Dates, times, everything you have found out or think you
have found out. Especially what happened on Fri, Sat, Sun and
the week after. How is it that you became suspicious of Salao
and who was with him when he saw Dave last, and when do you
think. Who did you report Dave missing to, when, etc. If you are
not sure, just say, I am “not sure but I think.”
Put it all together and e-mail it to me here. I know it is a lot
of work but it might be important. Because it may be a long time
before police start doing anything in Cambodia.
Will you do this for Dave’s family?
Sonny did not respond.
"dental records are used in a worst case
In the meantime, in the absence of updated
information from Cambodia, I received this grimly pessimistic e-mail
from Constable Gurney. I knew it was a 'fill in the blank' standard
procedure for a missing persons case but at the same time it frustrated
me that this was the only thing that Edmonton PD could do at the moment.
At least I was able to help with information that Dave's family in
Edmonton did not have. Dave was not really that close to
his Edmonton cousins, and rarely spent time in Edmonton, so there was a
lot they did not know about Dave. The e-mail was the first
foreboding foresight into the reality of how Dave's disappearance might
resolve itself in the future.
From: Jim Gurney
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 4:25 PM
To: Peter Vronsky
Subject: One question
After speaking with Dave’s family, I am still trying to
determine if there is a dentist’s office where he may have
received some treatment. While dental records are used in a
worst case scenario, we try to obtain the information at the
Are you aware of any locations that Dave WALKER may have
received dental treatment? Thanks
Cst. Jim Gurney
Edmonton Police Service
Missing Persons Unit
Edmonton AB, T5H 0H7
Office (780) 421-2202
Fax (780) 421-2613
From: Peter Vronsky
Sent: February 26, 2014 14:44
To: Jim Gurney
Subject: Re: One question
Not directly, but when he was employed here with the Teamsters
or IATSE film union, he would have had a dental plan, and the
insurance records may identify that. Would have been somewhere
between 2004 – 2008. Also when he was a graduate student in York
University 2009-2011 circa, he probably had a dental plan with
the Graduate Students Union at York University. I know he did
have dental work done during some of his visits here in summers.
Operation Find Dave Walker (OFDW): "it
sickens me to say it, but to remain effective for a long period beyond
the immediate crisis, we will have to become a bureaucracy."
As we were now approaching the third Friday of Dave's
disappearance, Tammy Madon and I felt that at least we had succeeded
preventing Dave's disappearance from vanishing between the cracks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs did the minimum they were
required, and having achieved that, next we needed to start looking at
how to manage Dave's investigation over a long term period if no
developments were forthcoming in the next few days. We still
had immediately urgent business in managing Foreign Affairs and the Cambodian
authorities, but we also needed to start looking into a long-term
strategy as now after three weeks it didn't look like Dave was going to
be coming in on his own with some lame excuse. This could now become a long
protracted investigation, perhaps one that could go for years, which we needed to
prepare to augment in many different
ways. I spent the rest of the day drafting a proposed action plan
that I dubbed "Operation Find Dave Walker" (OFDW) that would address
both short-term issues and long-term strategy. We needed to
prepare for a long haul, I advised Tammy Madon.
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:43 PM
To: Tammy Madon
Subject: OFDW_DRAFT CONFIDENTIAL
Operation Find Dave Walker
February 27, 2014.
This is a proposed plan of
long-term action looking to the extended future.
I apologize for its length but there is still
a lot left out of it.
STATE OF THE UNION UP TO FEB 27
It is now approaching two
weeks since Dave Walker has been reported vanished
by his business partner Sonny Chhoun and since
Richard Ehrlich raised the alarm among us.
There has been no progress.
We have done everything
possible to prod FATDC to take Dave’s case seriously
and to ensure that his disappearance is not written
off as a trip to Happy Hut (as Richard put it) but
as foul play warranting a criminal investigation.
I know what I say next is very
dissatisfactory, and that “the Germans, and
Americans or the French would do things
differently”, unfortunately for Dave, he is a
Canadian and our embassy in Bangkok has done
everything they *may* do within the diplomatic
protocols available to them, and that in the
parameters of those protocols, the ball is in
Cambodia’s court to respond to Canada’s request that
Dave’s disappearance become a “criminal
Whether they have done everything they *can*
do, is another matter.
they *may* do, the Bangkok Embassy and the lower
level bureaucracy in the South-East Asia section of
FATDC in Ottawa, are immune from our lobbying,
nagging or criticism.
Unless they have made some procedural error,
they can safely claim they have done their duty
according to the procedures available to them and
their ass is covered.
This is not the same for the higher ranking
bureaucracy in the Embassy, the FATDC in Ottawa or
their political bosses in Parliament.
I am sure that there are lots more things
Canada *can* do to persuade Cambodia to declare this
a “criminal investigation” if Canada has the
‘political will’ to do it.
assures me that other higher level formal and
informal diplomatic channels are being used, but
they cannot comment on them and we will never know
how well or to what extent they are being used
unless we get a break from some “inside” source.
We may need to generate
‘political will’ at the top through a vigorous and
relentless public campaign calling on Canada to make
Cambodia to make a “criminal investigation” of
Dave’s disappearance a priority.
We need to ‘sell’ Dave to the public to back
this ‘political will.’
Some of the commentary I have seen in letters
to editors and websites here in response to reports
on Dave, raise an eyebrow as to the sex-tourism
aspect of SE Asia, linking it to Dave’s presence
Some idiots claim that Dave is part of a
gay-Canadian filmmaker mafia (referring to activist
gay filmmaker John Grayson who was held in Egypt
last autumn) who are wasting tax payer money every
time they get themselves in trouble overseas.
Another commented that pensioners have no
access to government paid eye exams and now “this
adventurer” wants Canada to allocate resources and
energy to rescuing some guy who “asked for it”.
Building political will to do
more than what Canada *may* do diplomatically is
going to be a long and hard campaign.
The same applies to Cambodia
and their face-saving mentality.
It has been several times pointed out to me
that Cambodia’s weak spot is its need to ensure that
Siem Reap’s tourist industry keeps humming.
I was told that Disney is already or planning
to run tours into there.
If tourists around the world come to question
the safety of visiting Siem Reap with the kiddes, it
may inspire the Cambodians to do something. Or it
even may inspire Disney Corp to call their nearest
bribed official and suggest this gets cleaned up and
(It also may inspire them to cover up and
spit forth some manufactured “solution” to the
mystery of what happened to Dave.
He was not a tourist and I can see what the
professional spin masters retained by Cambodia on
behalf of its tourist sector will say, “You are safe
as a tourist in Cambodia as long as you don’t stick
your nose into business you shouldn’t. Don’t make
movies about the Khmer Rouge.”
While it’s unlikely, because the Khmer Rouge
is a plausible scenario, it may be offered as the
motive, fitting perfectly with the “Cambodia safe
for tourists, but don’t go ‘off the beaten track’
the way this Dave Walker did” theme.
Cambodia declaring this a
criminal investigation is essential as the
investigative machinery coiled up in the Edmonton
Police is sleeping until Cambodian police make
contact with them through the RCMP and INTERPOL
Until then the Edmonton Police are completely
frustrated by their inability to deploy resources to
begin investigating Dave’s disappearance in Cambodia
and even in to its possible links in Canada, in
particular one person of interest who remains
unnamed in this correspondence with whom Dave has a
long history and was meeting with in the days
preceding his disappearance.
My appeal to them that perhaps while they are
waiting for Cambodia, they could begin by
investigating the huge file I consigned to them of
photographs, e-mail and Facebook traffic related to
this person of interest, perhaps establishing a
paper trail from Canada back to Dave in Cambodia,
was responded to, “Oh, we wish we only could...”
They are unable to allocate resources, or
call upon police resources in other jurisdictions
for something that may turn out in the end to have
been a fruitless “fishing expedition” *until*
Cambodia makes this a “criminal matter” *and* calls
upon the Canadian police for help.
If Cambodia chooses to investigate this
without soliciting help from Canadian police, they
will not be able to do anything.
The problem is that Dave
Walker is being treated as a “missing person case”
which is not the same as a “criminal investigation.”
When I asked when and how does a missing
person case become a criminal case, he said, “when
we eliminate all the other non-criminal
possibilities based on reliable evidence.”
In other words, that Dave is not in Happy
Hut, a hospital, fell in the river by accident, etc.
The only thing the Edmonton
Police can currently do is archive incoming
information, reports and data in preparation for
this to possibly become a criminal case.
So, in terms of public
pressure, media coverage, etc., the objective, the
message, the goal, the talking points are:
DAVE WALKER WAS A HARD WORKING JOURNALIST
JUST LIKE THOUSANDS OF CANADIAN TEACHERS, AID
WORKERS, OIL RIG WORKERS, ENGINEERS, GEOLOGISTS,
DIPLOMATS PHYSICANS, GAINFULLY EMPLOYED ABROAD
REPRESENTING THE BEST OF CANADA TO THE WORLD;
CAMBODIA NEEDS TO MAKE THIS A CRIMINAL
INVESTIGATION, AND THEY ARE TAKING UNACCEPTABLY TOO
LONG TO DECLARE IT SO;
CANADA NEEDS TO VIGOURSLY PRESS CAMBODIA TO
THE CAMBODIAN INVESTIGATION NEEDS TO BE REAL
AND TRANSPARENT AND THE ONLY WAY TO ASSURE THAT IS
BY CAMBODIA CALLING UPON CANADIAN INVESTIGATORS TO
PARTICIPATE WITH CAMBODIA, ESPECIALLY SINCE IT HAD
TAKEN SO LONG TO LAUNCH IT.
I think that summarizes the
problem and the public-relations media response part
of what we can be doing for Dave.
OPERATION DAVE WALKER
With the assignment of a
Canadian police agency now behind us, and the
problem that until Cambodia moves, the Canadian
police are unable to move, and that Cambodia may
take months before they make a decision, if they
make one at all, we need to now to seriously
prepare to become operational ourselves, from
managing volunteers on the ground in Siem Reap and
Cambodia for inquiries and handing out posters to
considering retaining a contractor on the ground in
Cambodia, from a minimum of securing Dave’s
property, especially his photo digital files,
written notes and local files stored on his laptop,
to undertaking a full investigation.
Good news is that Dave’s e-mails and
communications on Facebook and on his e-mail service
will have years of Dave’s correspondence
archived and they can be served a search warrant
later by the police and accessed, and regardless of
whether we save Dave’s laptop or not.
The same however, cannot be said for his
I propose we begin
reassembling in a more formal and foreseeably long
term the e-mail circle Richard Ehrlich had first put
together to crisis manage the situation and consider
who to add to it and how it can work in a more
The proposed agenda would be:
1. Whether the time has arrived to hire a
contractor to ‘augment’ the investigation
2. What do we want this contractor to do?
What is his or her mission?
3. Who will this be?
4. How will this be paid for? Dave’s family in
Edmonton are trying to start up a campaign in local
media to raise money to find Dave.
We should look into ‘cloud funding’ perhaps.
5. What options do we have for mobilizing
reliable volunteers locally?
(I keep hearing that there still are very few
If we cannot get posters hung there or
distributed, then what are we going to be able to
If those reports are true...)
If Dave was carrying a water bottle in his
hand, there was a remote chance there was (or is) a
capped bottle with water still in it, among empty
bottles on the ground with Dave’s DNA in the water
and the bottle.
Despite my asking, nobody has bothered to
just stroll the route (the way a police investigator
would) to see if by some miracle chance scavengers
have not picked up the bottle.
Stranger evidentiary finds have occurred in
some of the cases I have described in my books.
Although my take would be “no” we should
probably revisit the issue of a reward.
7. We need to build an hour-by-hour chronology
of Dave’s activities in the week before he
disappeared, who he met with, when, where, why with
contact data on the persons, places, etc.
Once we get a week put together, we can then
go two weeks, etc.
I personally was in contact with Dave at
about 11:30 PM his time on Facebook on Feb 13 –
about 14 hours before he vanished.
It sickens me to say it, but
to remain effective for a long period beyond the
immediate crisis, we will have to become a
If we do go operational we will probably have
to go into committees, with clear goals and targets
and schedules to work.
Raising money alone will be a
Then deciding how to spend it more of a
There will probably need to be a fundraising
committee with a expenditure committee to approve
This could be a long drawn out process, and
will call on us to be relentlessly committed to the
goal in mind, finding Dave Walker.
After discussing with Tammy Madon the long term
challenges facing us if no break on Dave's disappearance would be
forthcoming in the next few days, I contacted the remaining core
members of the Ad Hoc group that Ehrlich did not expel, to see who was
still willing commit to a long term effort in finding Dave.
From: Peter Vronsky
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 10:27 AM
To: Peter Vronsky ; alan dawson ~ ; Nate Thayer ; blenkinsop ~ ;
williams Derek ; hayes ~ ; parkhouse ~ ; Alan ; laban-marc ~ ;
Casey Nelson ; last gasp ron turner * ; turner Colin ; Richard
Ehrlich ; fisher caitlin ; tammy
Operation Find Dave Walker (OFDW)
You were all part of the ad hoc group that came together to
Dave’s disappearance in the first 14 days.
We are putting together an operational long-term team to help
for the long haul in making strategic, investigative, fund
raising and other
decisions on Dave’s behalf in Canada and in Cambodia and
Who from this group wishes to be added to the OFDW group to
input advice and
assist in the long term now?
Dave Walker Missing Person Information can be reported to
Edmonton Police Phone Contact: +1 780-423-4567
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com [or both or cc:]
Other than Tammy Madon, with whom I had spoken about
it before sending it, inexplicably not one of the people on the above
e-mail list acknowledged, commented, contributed or replied to my
COMING NEXT: WEEK THREE -INSIDE THE
INVESTIGATION PART 9