Cases of people who seemingly disappeared into thin air are often the biggest mysteries that police and investigators face. When there are no clues as to what happened to a missing person, it can be impossible to know whether they voluntarily left their old life behind or more nefarious forces were at play. When these cases involve young children, they are all the more tragic.
Adrien McNaughton was just 5 years old when he went missing at Holmes Lake in Ontario, Canada, on June 12, 1972. He left behind little trace of his whereabouts, and the huge search party that looked for him over the following weeks was unsuccessful. The next 40 years produced little progress in the case, but it led to much speculation about exactly what happened to the young boy on that fateful day and what became of him.
On June 12, 1972, 5-year-old Adrien McNaughton disappeared while on a fishing trip with his family at Holmes Lake near Calabogie, Ontario. After fishing for about an hour, the young boy gave up either because he was tired or his line had tangled.
While other family members fished, Adrien explored around the lake and eventually headed into a nearby wooded area. At this point, Adrien's father, Murray McNaughton, and Adrien's three siblings lost sight of him. Some 30 minutes later, they realized Adrien was nowhere around and began to search for him.
Even after discovering Adrien was missing, his family did not contact the police for several hours. His father and brothers initially searched the area for him, hoping he was playing somewhere nearby. When Murray McNaughton realized he hadn't seen his son for 30 minutes, he asked his oldest son, Lee, to check whether Adrien had returned to the family's parked car.
This took another quarter of an hour before they concluded Adrien was not there, and a member of the group went to a nearby motel to contact the Ontario Provincial Police.
The fact that the family didn't go fishing until 5 pm meant there weren't many people around at the time. Accompanying Murray McNaughton, Lee, and Adrien were two other siblings and Murray's friend Donnie Ring.
The only other people known to be in the area were John Gervais and two friends who parked at Holmes Lake earlier in the day to go fishing at nearby lakes. They claimed to have seen a black-and-white 1956 Dodge with several adults and children camping at the lake earlier in the day, but those people were never identified.
With the lack of clues pointing toward what happened to Adrien, many believe a passerby may have abducted him. His mother has consistently said she hopes he was adopted by a family who perhaps could not have their own children and may have taken the boy if they saw him wandering around the lake by himself.
The lack of any physical evidence in the woods and around the lake supports this theory. Proponents argue that if Adrien had gotten lost or injured, the considerable number of people in the search party would have found him. The mysterious black-and-white 1956 Dodge also led to speculation about its potential involvement in the disappearance.