|This case has remained unsolved for 34 years, 3 months, and 2 days.|
It’s been over 30 years since 3-year-old Casey Rose Bohun went missing from her North Delta home in British Columbia (BC). Since she vanished on August 5, 1989, no trace of her has ever been found. The family was interviewed and questioned by authorities, including the administration of polygraph examinations, but that too led nowhere.
In the years since Casey vanished, no charges have been filed, no suspects have been announced, and no one has been arrested. There were suspicions that fell on the mother’s boyfriend, but nothing ever came of the investigation. Casey’s mother ended up committing suicide in 2001, with some saying that she did so out of grief for her missing daughter. Others suspect foul play, and that the parents were involved. What happened to Casey Rose Bohun?
Table of Contents
About Casey Rose Bohun
Casey Rose Bohun was born on July 18, 1986, making her 3 years old at the time of her disappearance. Her parents were separated by 1989. She then lived with her mother, Barbara “Barb” Bohun, her mother’s boyfriend, Jonathan Poile, and her 1-year-old sister, Stacy. Another daughter, Shona, would be born the year after Casey’s disappearance.
Casey was described as a “cute little girl” who was energetic and loved playing games. Her grandmother, Olga Bohun, said she was “very special.” Unfortunately, there were some allegations of abuse and substance use in the Bohun home. Olga also said:
“Maybe her mother got angry at her, because she had a short temper and she was on drugs. She could have just grabbed her by the feet and swung her against the wall. She used to put her under running water or close the cupboard and leave her in there.”Olga Bohun (Source: Vancouver Sun)
Despite the allegations of abuse, I couldn’t find any evidence or police reports that support this claim. Regardless, that doesn’t change the fact that Casey ended up missing and has never been seen or heard from again in over 30 years.
The Day of the Disappearance
It was August 5, 1989 when Casey went with her family to her aunt Beverly’s home in Maple Ridge, BC. The group returned home to North Delta, BC around 11 PM that night, a home they’d only moved into about a month before.
Since Casey had been acting up, her mother, Barb, put her to bed. The adults continued talking for a while, with Beverly having a beer and then getting instructions from Barb’s boyfriend, Jonathan, on how best to get back out on the road toward the Alex Fraser Bridge. Since Barb had a headache, she took some Tylenol and fell asleep on the sofa.
The Next Morning
It wasn’t until the next morning that the family realized something was wrong. At around 10 AM the next morning, some of Barb’s boyfriend’s friends came over and found him filling up a small pool in the backyard with water, presumably for Casey to swim in. When asked where Casey was, Barb went to check the girl’s room and found her missing.
When Barb realized that Casey wasn’t in her room, nor in the home at all, she called police to report her daughter missing.
Conflicting Stories and Reporting
It should be noted, however, that there are other sources that claim Casey was last seen outside playing on the front steps of the home that morning, and another news source claims that she was last seen in bed around 6 AM on the morning of her disappearance. It gets even more confusing with additional taped interviews and stories Barb told to friends and family, but I’ll get to that later in the article.
The Search Begins
After Barb reported Casey missing to authorities, police went out to the neighborhood to begin their search. They spoke with members of the family as well as others in the area and narrowed down the time of Casey’s disappearance to between 2 AM and 9 AM on August 5, 1989.
A neighbor said they thought they’d seen Casey playing on the front steps earlier that morning, although that couldn’t be confirmed. Other neighbors and volunteers helped to search the nearby area, looking in garages and bushes for Casey. However, nothing was found and after three days, the police called off their search.
As with most missing persons cases, those closest to the victims were interviewed and questioned first. On a TV interview, Casey’s aunt Beverly said, “What do I think happened? I think she just wandered. That’s my gut feeling and my hope that she’s just wandered and is just somewhere.” Casey had spent the day before she went missing with Beverly and the rest of her family.
Barb’s boyfriend, Jonathan Poile, told a news interviewer:
“Y’know maybe, like — I’m just going on maybes right now — I don’t know, y’know. I’m trying to be positive. I don’t wanna think that, y’know, somebody has her that, y’know, that a pervert or, y’know, some weirdo or… Y’know, if Barbara and I dwell on that right now, we’re gonna go out of our minds.”Jonathan Poile (Source: Global News)
Barb Bohun told interviewers, “I can’t stand this anymore. I’m terrified. That’s all I can say. I just want her back. I just want her to come back home.”
When the investigation began, authorities didn’t say that they suspected that foul play was involved. Initially, it was thought that Casey might’ve wandered off into the new neighborhood (remember that they’d only moved to Delta the month before) and gotten lost. However, as time went by, more troubling theories began to emerge about what happened to the 3-year-old.
Polygraph Tests Administered
According to a 2001 newspaper article I managed to find in The Province, four people were given polygraphs in this case: Barb Bohun, Jonathan Poile, Casey’s biological father, and Casey’s paternal grandfather. Barb ended up not taking the polygraph until the year after the disappearance because she was pregnant with Shona at the time. The results of Jonathan’s test and Barb’s polygraph tests were never released to the public.
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’ll know how little stock I put in polygraph tests. They’re a tool for police to use in investigations, not infallible truth-seeking machines. That being said, they were used in this case.
Father and Grandfather Cleared by Authorities
Police eventually disclosed that Casey’s paternal grandfather passed the polygraph test, and her biological father was “absolutely ruled out” as a suspect. They are not considered to have any involvement in Casey’s disappearance.
Despite being cleared by authorities, Casey’s biological father suffered from the loss of his daughter; he never recovered emotionally from the fact that his daughter went missing and was never found. “It’s been a hard battle for him all these years,” said his mother and Casey’s grandmother, Olga Bohun.
Barbara’s Changing Stories
I mentioned the changing stories earlier in the article, and here’s where the stories get a bit confusing and contradictory. During one interview in regards to Casey’s disappearance, Barb told a reporter, “Last time I saw her I was putting her to bed at 11 at night. I found the front door slightly open when I woke up.” Obviously, that was slightly different than the story she’d told police in the days following Casey’s disappearance in which she said she woke up and Casey was simply gone.
Later, in taped interviews with the executive director of the Missing Children Society of Canada that were conducted in 1991, Barb spoke of at least one and up to three masked intruders on the night that Casey disappeared. “I can tell you Barbara Bohun’s story has changed numerous times,” said Rhonda Morgan, an investigator of missing children cases for over 17 years at the time the article was written.
Morgan went on to state that the intruder story varied from interview-to-interview. “She woke up on the couch and Jonathan came back and said that the door was open,” was another story allegedly told by Barb. None of what Barb said in the 1991 interview regarding the intruders or an open door was told to police in the days immediately following Casey’s disappearance.
Yet another story was told to one of Barb’s friends, Carmen Campbell. According to Carmen, Barb told her:
“She thought she heard something in Casey’s room at 5 AM… She heard Casey screaming and crying in the bedroom. She thought maybe she’d just had a nightmare so got up to check. She went in, Casey was upset, so she calmed her down, then looked around, saw nothing, told her she was just having a nightmare, settled her down and went back to bed.”Carmen Campbell (Source: The Province)
This is an odd tale because it doesn’t explain how the nightmare ties into Casey’s disappearance. It was just another changing story to add to the pile of ever-changing stories that Barb told her friends, family, the media, and authorities. If I’m counting correctly, that’s seven different stories that Barb told — although there may be more that I’m not aware of.
Barb Joins Alcoholics Anonymous and Victims of Violence
In the wake of Casey’s disappearance, Barb Bohun joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It seems that she had some sort of a substance abuse issue, although there was limited information on if that played a role in Casey’s disappearance.
Barb also joined a group called Victims of Violence. From what I can gather, the group was a support group for victims of domestic violence and those who had lost loved ones to violence. It’s not clear if she joined because she was a victim of domestic violence, or if she joined because she’d lost Casey.
Person of Interest — Jonathan Poile
Once it was clear that Casey wasn’t going to be found quickly, authorities focused more on Barb’s boyfriend, Jonathan Poile. Jonathan told reporters that he thought Casey might’ve just wandered off, or perhaps chased a cat or a dog:
“Casey loves cubbyholes. Sometimes, it has taken us two hours to find her hiding in the house. She also knows that stranger rhymes with danger, so we’re thinking that maybe she’s so scared by now that she’d hiding somewhere and too terrified to come out… It’s possible that since she loves animals so much, if she saw a dog or a cat, she wandered off to follow it.”Jonathan Poile (The Province)
Retired Detective Mike Leary, a lawman who worked on the case for nine years, confirmed that Jonathan, Casey’s stepfather, has long been a person of interest in her disappearance:
“We believe he has not given us all the information that he has in his possession, which would assist us in finding out what happened to Casey.”Det. Mike Leary (Source: Vancouver Sun)
Poile has reportedly refused to speak with reporters or authorities regarding the case after the initial round of police interviews and the polygraph examination.
Stacy Enters Foster Care
The years following Casey’s disappearance seemed hard on the Bohun family. Casey’s younger sister, Stacy who was roughly 11 at the time, was placed in foster care around the year 2000. Barb’s boyfriend, Jonathan, had broken up with her and gone overseas to teach English in Korea, and Shona (Casey’s youngest sister) went to live with him around the same time, perhaps to avoid being put in the foster system herself.
2001: Barbara Bohun Commits Suicide
In 2001, Barb committed suicide by jumping off the Pattullo Bridge. (And if you’re struggling yourself, please reach out to the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline.) It’s believed that between her daughter going missing and her alleged struggles with substances, she was unable to continue on. She did not leave a suicide note.
A Cold Case for Over 30 Years
Unfortunately, that’s about as much information as we have on the case. It went cold and has stayed that way since 1989, over 30 years ago. We have no idea what happened to Casey, if she’s even still alive or if foul play was involved.
Theories on What Happened
There are a number of theories in this case regarding what happened to Casey and why. Of course, some have suggested strange or bizarre theories (like alien abduction), but I prefer to focus on the more plausible and realistic theories when writing about true crime.
Casey Wandered Off
Some have suggested that, because Casey was new to the neighborhood (her family had only moved there the month prior), perhaps she wandered off in search of new friends or playmates and then ended up lost or trapped somewhere. Maybe she wanted to explore the neighborhood a bit.
Even if this happened though, it seems likely that the extensive search efforts in the area should have turned up some evidence up of her, be it clothing, toys, or even herself, and yet nothing was ever found. After all, she was only 3 years old at the time of her disappearance which means she couldn’t have wandered off too far, unlike in the case of Asha Degree where you have an older child who could theoretically walk for several miles.
Casey was Kidnapped by a Stranger
One of the prevailing theories is that Casey was kidnapped by someone who broke into the home and took her. That being said, stranger abductions are admittedly very rare in Canada. For example, there were only 18 reported stranger-child abductions in 2021 in all of Canada, although it’s possible than an acquaintance of the family kidnapped Casey.
That being said, there is very little evidence pointing to a break-in or abduction. In fact, there’s very little evidence of anything in this case which is part of the reason it’s been cold for so long.
Casey was Kidnapped by a Good Samaritan
Another kidnapping theory suggests that Casey was taken by a group who wanted to save her from her family situation. Clearly, Barbara had substance abuse issues given that she joined AA shortly after Casey’s disappearance.
Because of the alleged issues in the home, some have suggested that a good Samaritan took Casey from the home to give her a better life. Authorities believed it was possible that she was abducted and living somewhere else in the US or Canada under a new identity, and that she might not even know she was ever kidnapped.
This is perhaps the best outcome for this case — not that it’s necessarily a good one. Retired Delta detective Mike Leary has said the same: “The most ideal scenario would be Casey Bohun’s still alive, and she comes to the police station and says, ‘Hi, I’m Casey.’”
Casey’s Caretakers Did Something to Her
Another common theory is that Casey’s caretakers (either her mother or her mother’s boyfriend) did something to her that resulted in her death. The fact that Barb had to go into AA suggests that there were troubles at home, so this is a plausible theory. Authorities have also stated that Jonathan Poile is a longtime person of interest in the case.
However, as said before, there just isn’t enough evidence to point to any one outcome. There were no reports of blood found in the home, nor anything else that would suggest that something happened to Casey. Forensics were also not as advanced as they are now, and it doesn’t seem that authorities used luminol (a chemical that reveals where cleaned up blood once was) or any other methods to look for signs of foul play.
An Accident Occurred
Lastly, some have suggested that something happened to Casey that resulted in her death (like she choked, or fell and hit her head and died), and her parents covered up the incident and then reported her as missing. This is also possible, although it begs the question of why her caretakers didn’t immediately contact emergency services.
What Do I Think Happened?
I certainly think something suspicious happened in this case because the parental figures reportedly didn’t check on 3-year-old Casey until 10 AM the next morning. What parent doesn’t check on their toddler for several hours after they’ve woken up?
I understand that this was the 80s and therefore a different time, but don’t most toddlers wake up quite early in the morning? And it’s possible that Casey didn’t, but at the same time, why not check on her to be sure she’s alright in the morning once you wake up? Then again, depending on which story of Barb’s you believe, she did.
Abduction Possible but Unlikely
The reason I don’t really buy into the abduction theory is 1) because abductions are statistically very rare, let alone stranger abductions and 2) there is no evidence, circumstantial or direct, to support the idea that a stranger kidnapped Casey.
Foul Play Likely
I think what really pushes me into believing the foul play theory in this case is the circumstantial evidence of Barb’s ever-changing story about what really happened that night. It was hard to keep track of how many times the tale changed — from Casey going missing from her bed to Casey going missing from the front porch stairs to a door being ajar to possible intruders being in the home to Casey just having a nightmare (which doesn’t at all explain her disappearance) — it was apparently just impossible for Barb to keep her story straight.
I’ve said before in other cases: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” The fact that Barb changed her story so many times when it was in relation to her own missing daughter suggests to me that something happened that August night, be it an accident or foul play, and she lied to cover it up.
Unfortunately, due to the passage of time and limited evidence regarding Casey Rose Bohun’s disappearance, without an outright confession of some sort, I doubt this case will ever be solved. The fact that Barb is deceased means that we’ll probably never know the truth, although there are still others out there that might know more. As Guy Leeson with Delta police said of the case:
“It’s a cold case but all these types of missing persons investigations remain open. If anybody knows anything in relation to Casey’s disappearance, we’d like them to come forward.”Delta Policeman Guy Leeson (Source: UC Files)
Despite the fact that this case is over 30 years old at the time of writing this, there are sadly few updates.
2001: More Tips Come In
In 2001, a new investigator was put on the case: Guy Leeson. With this announcement, tips flooded in about Casey and where she might be, but ultimately none of the tips panned out. “To have a case where… there’s no indication of what’s happened to that child is very unusual,” he said.
Do You Have Information?
If you have information about Casey Rose Bohun, what happened to her, or where she might be, please contact the Delta Major Crimes Section at (604) 946–4411. At the time she went missing, Casey had red hair, brown eyes, was about 3’0 tall and weighed 28 lbs.
Cold Case Questions
- What do you think happened to Casey Rose Bohun?
- Do you think Casey is still alive out there somewhere?
- Will this case ever be solved?
Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
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