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The Disappearance and Death of Dave Walker: A History
Page 11. The Investigation Part 8
Enter Edmonton Police - Getting the Cambodians to Move

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"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.

From: Jean-Francois.Parizeau@international.gc.ca
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:05 PM
To: Peter Vronsky
Cc: Tammy Madon
Subject: RE: Nate Thayer Dave Walker

Hello Peter,

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.

Police Liaison

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.

Police Activity

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 matters. 

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.

Information sharing

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 Tammy’s consent...

Best Regards,

Jean-François Parizeau
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.

Edmonton Police ServiceEdmonton 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 introduced myself. 

Gurney was at the time the head of Edmonton PD's missing persons unit. 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. 

Edmonton 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 Canada?

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.

This immediately 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 front."

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.

To Peter Vronsky
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 for...

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 had 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 only to the RCMP... there are some people who would need that direct RCMP contact now..."  I was beginning to smell bullshit in these e-mail exchanges.

Subject: Person of Interest
Peter Vronsky

Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM
To: thayer nate ~ <thayernate0007@gmail.com>, tammy ~Richard Ehrlich, glossograph ~ <glossograph@gmail.com

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 xxx xxxxxxxx here confirming on the Facebook Page that he was in contact with Dave. 

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. 

Thanks Peter

-----Original Message-----
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 call*

greetings vronsky,

the *only* reason the information was not to be on *facebook* etc is
because it was not to be in the *public domain* and only for a strict
*need to know* basis.

there are *no* new developments on that front.

when you have some free time, however, could you please email me at
least *one* RCMP contact, so that whoever out here may want to talk
*directly* to the RCMP can?

all i would need is *one* RCMP


*job position*

*phone number*

*email address*

that way, it can be given to someone who may appear with actual
on-the-ground information, who wants to be speak immediately only to
the RCMP, and not to facebook, the media *cc* list, or anyone else
even withing the various *inner circle* email conversations.

there are some people who would need that direct RCMP contact now, so
please soon as possible if you have.

thanks lots.

bests ~


*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 inebriated-like incoherence.)

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 never
been known to the outside world on the *cc* list.

eye mention this now, because there is no need to tell the *cc* list
to *correct* any previous statement.

sort of like the *mummy* inside the pyramid.

there was no abdul-abdul person saying *open sesame* to your initial titles.

so all that is fortunately still mute, concealed by dusty bandages,
under the file name: *a closed sesame seed*.

and there it shall remain.

bests ~

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:

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 did." 

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.



Peter Vronsky, Phd
Ryerson University Toronto, Canada
+1 (xxx) xxx-xxxx
February 25, 2014

On Sunday night Dave Walker's cousin Tammy Wallbridge-Madon nominated Nate
Thayer and myself to be "spokespeople" for the family for the purpose of
receiving the little information Foreign Affairs Canada has to give. On
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 nominated me.

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 little --
without Foreign Affairs incurring liability for violating Dave's privacy
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 with the

This does not limit any confidence or authority vested by Tammy in Nate
Thayer to investigate Dave's disappearance or speak and counsel with anybody
or any authority on behalf of Dave Walker. Nate Thayer has my and Tammy's
absolute confidence and sanction for everything he is currently doing to
find Dave Walker.

Tammy, myself, and Nate are concerting together on strategy, in consultation
with Dave's friends and our various individual contacts and advisors. We
welcome all contact.

Until we receive instructions from the police agency investigating this
case, please archive or send to or cc me any info, rumour, gossip,
information, misinformation, dreams, gut feelings, hunches, spiritual visits, signs and
everything and anything else to: info@petervronsky.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 ratio.

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 -- our
"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 point):

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 from the
Bangkok Embassy to deliver this message to authorities in Siem Reap in
person. She was there Friday and Saturday on the seventh and eighth day
since Dave's disappearance or the fourth and fifth day since Foreign Affairs
received from family notification of Dave Walkers disappearance.

2. Canada has *no* jurisdictional authority in Cambodia and must yield to
Cambodian authorities to investigate this matter. Cambodian authorities
have not declared this a "criminal" investigation and therefore Dave
Walker's room at the hotel and the vicinity is not being currently treated
as a crime scene. Ms. Catmur reported she had no authority to take Dave's
property into her custody to bring back with her to Bangkok until the
Cambodian authorities declare this will not be a criminal investigation. A

3. As of 1:00 PM Toronto time, some 12 days since Dave Walker's
disappearance, Cambodia has not communicated to Bangkok Embassy that this
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 liaise to
any Cambodian police investigation -- Canadian police will function in that
capacity -- once (and if) the Cambodian authorities declare it a criminal

6. Canada Foreign Affairs is arranging to establish a Canadian police
contact point for Dave Walker's family. Will update once that is done and
we understand how that contact will function.


1. Cambodia will *never* consent to Canadian police leading investigation
or investigating in Cambodia *if* asked to do so by Canada.
2. At best if Cambodian police had nothing directly to do with Dave's
disappearance, *they know everything* about it.
3. There will *never* be an actual investigation by Cambodian authorities.


1. Foreign Affairs will now sit and wait for response on criminal
investigation status from Cambodian Police AND LIKELY DO NOTHING MORE.
*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. Foreign
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 investigation
and then lobby Cambodia to immediately ask Canada for investigative help and
(2) On Cambodia to declare this a criminal investigation and to immediately
ask Canada for investigative help and resources.

This may be through media, private and public lobbying, protest, etc. in
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.


Tammy Madon

"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 thought.

From: Richard Ehrlich
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:25 AM
To: vronsky ~ ; tammy ~ ; thayer nate ~ ; glossograph ~

greetings tammy & vronsky & thayer,

vronsky, your *public* and *quotable and sharable* statements are, in
my humble unsolicited opinion, *not good* for the current sensitive
situation that the investigation is now at, and it is *not good* that
you have emailed to the various journalists and others on your list.

there are many ways i could explain this to you, but you have not
heeded my previous advice to remain *silent* on this case at this

so, based on my experience as a foreign correspondent here in asia
since 1978, perhaps you will understand it if i present *your* email
back to *you*, written as the disastrous, and damaging news story that
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 today
Cambodia "will never consent to Canadian police" to investigate the
case, and charged that Cambodia's police "know everything" about his

"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 statement
to the media after being appointed by Ms. Maldon, cousin of Mr.

"At best if Cambodian police had nothing directly to do with Dave's
disappearance, they know everything about it," Mr. Vronsky said in a
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. Walker
disappeared in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Feb. 14.

Mr. Vronsky also presented no evidence for charging that Cambodia's
police "know everything" about "Dave's disappearance" but that there
will "never be an actual investigation."

The statement by Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman comes one day after
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was asked by the Bangkok-based
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) to take a personal
interest in Mr. Walker's fate.

It was not immediately known how Cambodia's prime minister will react
after hearing Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman condemn his police and
charge them with failing to act even though they "know everything"
about the case.

Mr. Vronsky also said an American journalist, Nate Thayer -- who
risked his life to successfully find and interview Cambodia's Pol Pot
-- was no longer a spokesman for Ms. Wallbridge-Madon.

Vr. Vronsky's statement to the media today was apparently made without
Washington-based Mr. Thayer's knowledge beforehand.

Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman also said Canada's foreign ministry
shared "very little" information with them and, "I do not have any
kind of special access to [the] Foreign Affairs" officials involved in
the case.

It was unclear what prompted Ms. Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman to
condemn Cambodia's investigation, only one day after Cambodia's prime
minister had been updated on the case by the FCC.

There was no indication that Mr. Vronsky had ever spoken directly with
any Cambodian officials or police during February, before making his
allegations against them.

Desperate to find out anything, because he had no knowledge of what
Canadian and Cambodian officials were doing behind the scenes, Ms.
Wallbridge-Madon's spokesman asked journalists and the public to send
him "any info, rumour, gossip, information, misinformation, dreams,
gut feelings, hunches, spiritual visits, signs and everything and
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 immediately
ask Canada for investigative help and resources."

Ms. Wallbridge-Maldon's spokesman also said an international protest
should be staged to get "Cambodia to declare this a criminal
investigaton and to immediately ask Canada for investigative help and

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power for decades, is
battle-hardened from years as a Khmer Rouge regiment commander before
becoming a politician, and is widely known to angrily bristle at any
foreign attempts to pressure him to act on any issue.

It was not immediately known if Hun Sen will suddenly comply with Ms.
Wallbridge-Maldon spokesman's demand and condemnation of his
government and police.

Mr. Vronsky did not say if Ms. Wallbridge-Maldon, who lives with her
family in Edmonton, would be leading the international "protest"
against Canada and Cambodia or how it would be organized, but his
statement was expected to spread through news media and social media,
casting a harsher glare upon Ottawa, Cambodia's prime minister, and

- 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 ~


Hi Richard

"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 questions I
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, still stands
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 a criminal
matters within 48 hours, considering the circumstances. They are thousands
of miles away and frankly are uninterested in the nuances of the Cambodian
"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 must
become a criminal investigation involving Canadian investigators.

Please focus on distributing the release, rather than 'spinning' it into
some weird and negative way, that so far is only coming from you. "lashing
out" "rambiling" etc. Why are you even wasting your time writing that
nonsense spin you have concocted. Where is that even coming from?


Peter Vronsky

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 Missing Posters.

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

Hi Sonny:

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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, 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 investigators.

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 phone.
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?

My regards,

Peter Vronsky

Sonny did not respond.

"dental records are used in a worst case scenario..."

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

Hi Peter,

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 earliest opportunity.

Are you aware of any locations that Dave WALKER may have received dental treatment? Thanks

Cst. Jim Gurney
Edmonton Police Service
Missing Persons Unit
9620-103A Ave
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. 

From: Peter Vronsky
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:43 PM
To: Tammy Madon


Operation Find Dave Walker (OFDW)  [ROUGH DRAFT]
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.


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 investigation.”  Whether they have done everything they *can* do, is another matter.

Having done  everything 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.   FATDC 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 there.  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 settled.  (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 channels.  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:





I think that summarizes the problem and the public-relations media response part of what we can be doing for Dave.


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 provider,  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 local files.

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 streamlined way.

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.  etc.
5.   What options do we have for mobilizing reliable volunteers locally?  (I keep hearing that there still are very few posters hung.  If we cannot get posters hung there or distributed, then what are we going to be able to really do?  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.
6.   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 bureaucracy.  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 challenge.  Then deciding how to spend it more of a challenge.  There will probably need to be a fundraising committee with a expenditure committee to approve proposed expenses.  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
Subject: OFDW

Operation Find Dave Walker (OFDW)

You were all part of the ad hoc group that came together to crisis-manage
Dave’s disappearance in the first 14 days.

We are putting together an operational long-term team to help Dave's family
for the long haul in making strategic, investigative, fund raising and other
decisions on Dave’s behalf in Canada and in Cambodia and globally if

Who from this group wishes to be added to the OFDW group to input advice and
assist in the long term now?

Peter Vronsky

Dave Walker Missing Person Information can be reported to
Edmonton Police Phone Contact: +1 780-423-4567
eps@edmontonpolice.ca or info@petervronsky.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 appeal.               


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