Eduardo Balaquit still missing one year later

Community News & Features May 24, 2019 at 3:56 pm

By Irish Mae SilvestreEdward with his father Eduardo Balaquit
The Philippine Reporter

When Edward Balaquit, 32, drives by fields in his hometown in Manitoba, he finds himself scanning the area for clues. It’s become part of his routine ever since his father, Eduardo Balaquit, went missing.
This June 4 will mark a year since the then-59-year-old disappeared from his evening workplace.
“It’s just a habit now where I’m hoping to see something,” said Edward. Last year, he and his family worked with the police, volunteers and local organizations to form search parties that scoured near and distant fields looking for signs of Eduardo. The group spoke to people on the streets as they handed out flyers appealing to the public for information.
Winnipeg Police Service say that they continue to investigate the disappearance of Eduardo Balaquit. In an email to The Philippine Reporter, Sergeant Wade McDonald of the Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit stated, “We have assured the family and we want the public to know that this, by no means, is a closed investigation, and that should any additional information arise it will be followed up by our unit and investigated vigorously. Investigators have been and continue to have contact with the family.”
An Immigrant Success Story
Eduardo Balaquit with wife LumieIn many ways, Eduardo, who hails from the Philippine province of Batangas, is the epitome of an immigrant success story. Through hard work, he and his wife bought their dream home in the Amber Trails area – the perfect place to raise their two sons Edward and Erwin.
Eduardo was no stranger to long work days.
In the mornings, he worked as a machine operator for a local mill before heading home to share a quick meal with his wife, Lumie. At around 5.30pm, he would leave for his evening workplace at 380 Keewatin Street where he had been providing custodial services for a client for over 20 years.
Eduardo BalaquitWhen the family still hadn’t heard from him by 11.30pm on June 4, 2018, they drove around searching for Eduardo before notifying the police.
The building manager soon found his grey/silver Dodge Caravan parked behind the building with its window smashed in. His cell phone was still in the car.
Police believe that Eduardo was a victim of a crime. With the summer sun setting at 9.30pm that day, the incident would have happened in broad daylight.
Photos of two persons of interest were soon released to the public, however, Sergeant McDonald stated, “That investigative avenue has been completed and provided the necessary information to assist with the investigation.”
Living with Hope
On October 27, human remains were found by a hunter in the southeast area of Winnipeg. Edward said that he was contacted by police to see if the remains matched his father’s DNA or dental records.
“It was a sinking feeling that it could possibly be my dad that they found,” he said.
Police informed him of the results moments before the press conference: forensic results determined that the remains were of 57-year-old Thelma Krull who had been missing since she left her Grassie Boulevard home on July 11, 2015. Police believe that she is the victim of a homicide.
“I felt bad for their family because I’m sure they didn’t want that,” said Edward. “At the same time, it was a sigh of relief because there was a chance that my dad is safe and sound somewhere.”
Meanwhile, major milestones come and go.
Edward, Eduardo, Lumie and Erwin BalaquitLast year, Edward married his fiancée, Michelle. “The consensus within the family was that, regardless of what happened, my dad worked hard to make sure we were happy,” said Edward in an interview with TPR last year. “For us to stop [the wedding] because of him, he more than likely would not have wanted that.”
They even arranged for Eduardo’s suit in case he did manage to make a last-minute appearance.
“It was a rocky start when it became apparent that he was probably not coming,” recalled Edward. “It was still a good day. It was pretty emotional without him being there, but we knew he wanted us to go through with it.”
April 9 would have also marked Balaquit’s 60th birthday. In an Instagram post, Edward wrote: “Happy birthday, dad! I hope you’re doing well. Mom, kuya and I are dealing with you being gone in our own ways and we’re just hoping to see you soon. When we do see each other, there’s plenty for all of us to catch up on. Until then, love you and happy birthday, dad.”
On June 4, the family will hold mass to pray for Eduardo’s safe return.
Edward said that he feels his father’s absence the most when he’s with his mom and brother. “He worked a lot so usually when we did see him, he [spent time] with us,” he said. “His house was his goal house; he worked hard for it. Everything he worked hard for is a reminder of him.”