Nick Oldrieve is the Excecutive Director of an organization called Please Bring Me home. The mission is to bring people home who have been missing for a long time. From Owen Sound Ontario, Nick runs the organization alongside the Director of Operations Matthew Nopper and Secretary Melissa Harwood.
The team has recently brought on various experts from across Ontario, including retired law enforcement, forensic anthropologists, human remains detection dogs and more. They work to give families hope and support:
“We get asked all the time, why? What makes us the experts? Simply put its because someone needs to. We will have the answer on what to do next and if we don’t, we will find the right expert to help. This is our hobbie. We are easily the most stubborn group of individuals and we feel some cold cases need that.”
Prior to taking on his role with Please Bring Me Home, Nick worked for a company in Peterborough Ontario on a crisis team. One of the duties was to locate runaway youth from foster care:
“I loved that job and I was good at it. When I moved to Owen Sound, I tried to get something running from a business standpoint but it did not take off. Me and a few friends would just volunteer to go look for current missing youth if we caught wind.
I think a lot of the reason was the massive influx of youth suicide and if all it took was to get in our car and meet the runaway for a moment to show that even strangers are looking for them, that should be a testament on the impact their life has on people. Someone shared their story, someone said they were missing. Just remind them.”
By complete accident, Nick stumbled on a cold case, Lisa Maas out of Woodford. He was hooked after the first page he read:
“I began asking questions and could not fathom how this is a thing. How could it be 30 years? So I called CTV and said I know where Lisa’s body is, for the purpose of getting her damn story out front again. I was wrong in the location but it created such a buzz.”
The team soon felt the need for a website, followed by an anonymous tip website. They started taking on other cold cases in the area, running digs, and then searches. Things really expanded across the country after W5, an investigative television show, aired an episode about them on utube: https://youtu.be/2XIUIbRckyE.
“We want to take some weight off of these families. We can build the teams, we can build the cases. We consider the guilt that families must feel sometimes when all they are trying to do is enjoy a cup of coffee and watch tv. We can hear it in their voices when we do our interviews and the underlying thought they must be carrying is, ‘I should be out there doing something right now. How dare I sit still.’
Our simple answer is WE won’t sit still until they are found. Take a breather, let us steer the ship for your family member’s case. We have helped resolve two missing persons cases. We ran a search for Terry Schope out of Owen Sound and located his remains last summer. A tip also came into our website which assisted authorities in locating the remains of Nolan Panchyshyn and charging two people with his murder. To date, between my job in Peterborough and present time, I have assisted in locating 16 missing persons, 13 of which were alive.”
“We don’t have a team in BC or Alberta, so then we’ll make one. We don’t have any contacts out there to make a team, so we’ll find some. There is always a solution for problems like this. There is always another thing to try or another direction to go. Ryan’s story, and his family’s quest to do whatever it takes, inspired us to reach out.
We need people across Canada to want to help. People who are retired law enforcement, search and rescue, cadaver dogs, ground penetrating radar, underwater drones, criminologists and media personnel. You name it, we want it. Just people who would be passionate to run groups like this across Canada.
The ridiculously ambitious goal is to have two Please Bring Me Home teams in each province. One would focus on the southern regions and the other on the northern regions. Do not ever, ever, ever give up. These are such hopeless situations, and if we even slightly reenergize anyone affected by these cases, just know that we are here. We’ll listen and do our best.”