More than 300 people walked through the rain on a cold September night, shining their flashlights across the darkness, calling Ronnie Aspinall's name over and over.
The four-year-old boy didn't answer.
Ronnie's disappearance 60 years ago today remains a mystery and one of Prince George's most tragic stories.
He was last seen on the platform of the train station at about 4:40 p.m. on Sept. 25, 1953, a short distance from the National Hotel on First Avenue and Dominion Street, where his family rented a suite.
An older boy had been playing with Ronnie nearby earlier in the afternoon but had left to go buy an ice cream cone. When he came back, Ronnie was already gone.
Ronnie was last seen talking to a man on the platform, who may have been waiting to catch a train. One account said it was a man carrying a briefcase and a long black coat over his arm while another account said it was a man wearing coveralls.
The man, like Ronnie, was never located.
Ronnie's family started looking for him when he didn't come home for supper. They called police at 7:45 p.m. as darkness settled over Prince George with no sign of the boy. Police officers and family members were joined by residents who answered the call for help on a local radio station that night.
The only thing they found was his abandoned tricycle near the train station.
In the days that followed Ronnie's disappearance, planes, police dogs and search parties scoured the city for any sign of the boy. All of the trains from Prince George were inspected and passengers and crews were interviewed but no one else saw him.
Ronnie's dad, Hugh John Aspinall but better known as Jack, never stopped looking for his son.
A computer-generated composite photo of what Ronnie might look like as a middle-aged man was released by the RCMP in 2004. Jack, then 78 and a recent widower after the death of his wife Dorothy, had trouble recognizing his son in the photo.
"I don't see where it would look like him, but I could be mistaken, too," Jack said. "It might look a little like my wife's father when he was that age, but no, there isn't much in the way of family resemblances."
Jack had been disappointed before in the search for Ronnie.
He said a felon in Edmonton was found with photos of Ronnie taken after he disappeared but nothing came out of the police interrogation and no charges were laid. The trail went cold and so did interest from a rotating cast of RCMP officers assigned to the case over the years.
And now Jack is gone, too. He died on Sept. 15 at the age of 87, just 10 days before this horrible anniversary today.
In his obituary, Ron is listed as one of Jack's surviving sons, along with Rick, who was just seven months old when his brother vanished, as well as Dan and Tim, who were born later and never knew their oldest brother.
A story published in The Citizen in September 1954, a year after Ronnie went missing, ended with these words: "Somewhere, perhaps, somebody may know where Ronnie Aspinall is and someday, they may tell."
That day never came for Jack and Dorothy Aspinall.
-- Managing Editor Neil Godbout