It’s been over three, long, painful years since Denny-Ray Poole reportedly disappeared by the Kiskatnaw bridge on that winter evening. I sit with Denny’s grandmother, the woman who raised him, and I can feel the heaviness and pain she carries. She wears a black DC hat in memory of her grandson. “It’s like being in a dream. None of it feels real. His smile. I miss his smile.” She talks about how she can’t stop looking for him everywhere she goes. She often sees someone on the street, who from a distance resembles Denny and she gets hopeful, but as she gets closer and realizes it’s not him her hopes and heart are crushed, yet again. It’s so hard when you don’t have that closure. A person who is so much apart of you is missing, so your life, and your family’s lives are taken over with constant searching. Constant worry and grief not knowing where he is. Both the loss, and not having closure has taken a large toll on the Poole family and those closest to him. Denny being missing has caused devastation in many ways the public doesn’t see.
As I continued to talk to Jenny, it becomes apparent that Denny’s disappearance is one of many tragedies the family has faced. The most recent being the sudden passing of Chantel, Denny’s sister on May 14, 2018, and Jenny’s good friend Sharla Bruun, passing away November 25, 2018. Two of Jenny’s grandchildren taken from her, and her friend who she relied on in many ways. If all of this loss isn’t horrific enough, over the years Jenny and family also lost Ray, the man Denny considered to be his grandfather, and four of her own children. Two boys to drowning, a daughter to murder and another daughter to kidney failure. How can one family survive so much loss? Jenny talks about how empty her home is with out Denny and Chantel. How empty her scooter feels because Chantel would ride with her on her lap. Her house is empty and the friend she usually would turn to for guidance, Sharla, is gone.
Hearing all of this leaves me speechless. I stumble on my words not quite knowing what to say. “How do you get through it?” I asked. She responded with a slight shrug, a somewhat stoic face, and a slight tear in her eye, “you just take it one day at a time and hope that God has a bigger plan for us.” The emotions I felt in that moment were strong, as I sat in awe of her strength.
When I asked Jenny what she would like to tell everyone, she said “I just want closure. I just want understanding of why no one can find him and no one knows anything. If someone does know something, please step forward to give our family peace of mind and so we can stop looking.”
Denny is a First Nations youth, is approximately five-feet-seven inches tall, 120 to 130 ibs, short black hair and brown eyes. Was last seen wearing a grey sweater with red “DGK” lettering, jeans, Osiris skate shoes and a black backpack.
If you saw anything along the highway March 11-12, 2016, or have any information on Denny’s disappearance or whereabouts, please contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 1-250-784-3700, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tips are welcome.
Do you have a local cold case or missing family member who’s story you’d like to tell? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.