UPDATE: Unfortunately there was no closure for the family as Harold was not found.
MINDEN-The questions around the disappearance of Harold Heaven almost 90 years ago may be close to being answered after two best friends became reluctant amateur investigators in hopes of solving the mystery.
Mike Mildon and Jackson Rowe say they are close to finding answers in the 86-year-old cold case of what happened to local resident Harold Heaven after he disappeared from his cabin in Minden, Ontario, in 1934. The duo have spent the last two years investigating the case for a documentary series produced by Muse Entertainment and scheduled to launch on the free CBC Gem streaming service in 2021.
After countless leads led them to a rumoured burial location in February, geophysicists at multiVIEW Locates, Inc., a utility infrastructure services company, performed a ground-penetrating radar scan, revealing results roughly two metres deep which they say are, “consistent with what you’d find when scanning a cemetery.”
“When we first pulled the image out and were able to look at it in three dimensions, it’s quite a shocking revelation. We’ve got the depth, we’ve got the width, we’ve got the length that are indicative of grave sites. It’s hard not to look at these things and not have sort of an eerie feeling,” said Kevin Vine, President and CEO of multiVIEW Locates, Inc.
Mike Mildon, a member of the Heaven family, has sought to finally obtain closure for the Heaven clan, as well as give Harold Heaven an appropriate resting place alongside the rest of the family.
The discovery of the GPR scan in February of this year raised the hopes of the investigative team. But Mildon, along with investigative partner Jackson Rowe, were unable to proceed until the ground thawed. And then, the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying provincial shutdowns led to a pause on their efforts.
Harold Heaven went missing from his cabin in Minden on October 29, 1934. His door was found ajar, his keys still inside the lock, his oil lamp burnt out. The only items missing were Harold’s blue serge suit, black oxfords, a sweater, his fedora and his new .22 rifle. Hundreds of people searched for Heaven, both in the bush and in the nearby lakes; no clues were ever found. The OPP carried out investigations throughout the remainder of 1934, but the case went unsolved. Seeking closure, Harold Heaven’s brothers continued the search for the rest of their lives, and ever since, his other descendants have kept the case alive. Recently, a Heaven family member obtained the OPP reports on the case from 1934, which have added a previously unknown level of detail to the case, and have led to the current investigation and documentary project.
Heaven’s believed final resting place borders the location of a property line shared by a possible suspect mentioned in the OPP police reports from 1934. Descendants have long considered the spot a possible location of Heaven’s body, because of its odd composition of blast rock and other material which is inconsistent with the surrounding terrain, suggesting some disturbance of the site.
With the blessing of the Heaven family, along with advice of local law enforcement and archaeological experts, an excavation of this location will occur this week.
“This excavation is a thrilling end to our two year investigation. We are excited by the findings and more than a little anxious to get to the bottom of a case long thought unsolvable. The Heaven family has sought closure for over 85 years and we’re just as surprised as they are that we are the ones to find some answers,” said Mike Mildon.