Mother keep­ing miss­ing son in spotlight

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Mark NIELSEN Ci­ti­zen staff

In­stead of presents and a cake, the 25th birth­day of Lu­cas Degerness was marked by a can­dle­light vigil on Mon­day evening – but his mother re­mains hope­ful the mys­tery sur­round­ing his dis­ap­pear­ance will be solved and they will one day be re­united. —

In the mean­time, Gina Degerness con­tin­ues to beat the drum.

“Keep it fresh, keep it in peo­ple’s minds,” she said in an in­ter­view prior to the vigil which was held at the court­house. “And pray and hope I get some kind of res­o­lu­tion, what­ever it may be.”

Her son has not been seen since June 7, 2007. Then 14 years old, the stu­dent at Prince Ge­orge se­condary school and his mother had met with the school’s vice prin­ci­pal ear­lier that day. The meet­ing ended with Lu­cas ap­pear­ing to be in a good mood and off to his next class. But he did not ar­rive. “I can pretty much pin­point what he did for that first week in June, to about June 14, 2007,” his mother said. “I know where he spent at least four or five nights, where he slept at. And then he dropped off the face of the earth.”

Lu­cas had been a hand­ful. The fam­ily had moved to Ed­mon­ton where Gina hoped to get a bet­ter job and es­tab­lish a more sta­ble home life. But when she dis­cov­ered he wanted to join a gang in that city, they quickly moved back to Prince Ge­orge.

“He never wanted to leave Prince Ge­orge, he wanted to stay here,” Gina said.

Gina ac­knowl­edged he might still have gone on to pur­sue a life of crime but even if that’s the case, she still wants to get to the bot­tom of where he may be and what has hap­pened to him, if only to get clo­sure.

“If he’s gone, I need to know,” she said. “This is a hor­ri­ble limbo.”

The Cana­dian Cen­tre for Child Pro­tec­tion has taken on the case and has helped keep his dis­ap­pear­ance in peo­ple’s mem­o­ries, in­clud­ing is­su­ing an ageen­hanced il­lus­tra­tion of Lu­cas show­ing what he prob­a­bly looked like five years af­ter he went miss­ing.

She also noted that many of his friends from the time are now young par­ents.

“Maybe enough time has passed that they’re will­ing to fess up if they know of any harm that’s come to my son,” Gina said.

She also stressed her son should not be con­fused with Lu­cas Switzer, who re­mains alive and liv­ing in Prince Ge­orge and is well known to the po­lice and courts. They’re the same age, have the same name and they look re­mark­ably alike, Gina said.

Any­one with a tip on what has hap­pened to her son is asked to con­tact the CCCP at 1-866-KID-TIPS (543-8477) or Miss­ingKids. ca online or Prince Ge­orge RCMP at 250561-3300.

Tips can also be left anony­mously through Prince Ge­orge Crime Stop­pers,1-800-222-8477 or pgcrimestop­

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