Real Name: Karoly John Horvath-Allan
Location: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Date: May 1989
Date Of Birth: August 21, 1968
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Dark brown eyes and hair with skull tattoo on right arm
Details: Charles Horvath was born August 21, 1968 in Cochenour, Ontario, Canada. He was a resident of England who, in spring 1989, planned to work and hitchhike across Canada and visit his natural father, Max, and his godfather in Ontario.
On May 11, 1989, Charles sent what was to be his final letter home from Roche Stationers, Kelowna to his mother, Denise, in Yorkshire, England by fax, regarding meeting up with her and his stepfather, Stuart Allan, for his 21st birthday and her 40th birthday.
When Charles failed to contact Denise to finalize their arrangements, she reported him officially missing on August 10, 1989 to the Kelowna Detachment RCMP. She then mounted a search for him across the world, placing advertisements in local and provincial newspapers prior to her first trek across Canada. During this trek, she was accompanied by Stuart; they were joined later by "Charles" Nana Austin-Thorpe and stepgrandfather Tony Thorpe.
The Zebroffs contacted Denise via the Kelowna Detachment of the RCMP after recognizing Charles' name in the local advertisement stating they had met him in late spring while he was in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada and allowed him to temporarily stay at their family home. Joanne Zebroff remembered him well and felt that he had a close relationship with Denise. On the last time he visited their apartment, they had company over and were unable to let him join them. At first, she believed that the visit occurred in May. However, police later determined that it was in July. They last saw him in the LiveWire Nightclub in August 1989. He registered at the Gospel Mission and stayed at the Sherwoods and the Vernon Gordon family homes.
In the middle of May 1989, Charles registered at Tiny Tent Town on Lakeshore Road in Kelowna where Gordy Happ helped him put up his tent which had been given to him by the Lighthouse Outreach Charity. Job Mart and other student employment agencies were frequented by him and other residents of Tiny Tent Town, Eugene "Gino" Bourdin, Graham Ledingham and Chad Duncan in search of work.
Gino recalled that Charles often came to his campsite to talk with him and his family. When he disappeared, his tent, sleeping bag, and all his possessions, including his clothes, personal belongings, ID, and family photographs, were left behind at Tiny Tent Town. They were used by others there. Gino recalled that Charles had vanished after an all-night party at the campground, and remembered seeing his belongings left behind. The 1989 manager, Phil Flett, told Denise that his belongings had been thrown away except for a rosary, Bible, and leather strap from his boot.
The Kelowna Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police later retrieved his clothes and other belongings from Kevin Trent Egan and former manageress, Sheila Neihaus. In March 1992, Denise, while on her second trek to Canada from England in search of Charles, received an anonymous letter delivered to the Pandosy Inn by cab. The anonymous note claimed that he had been knocked out by two men at Tiny Tent Town and died; his body was dumped in Okanagan Lake.
Local Kelowna Volunteer Divers and International Sea Search from Vancouver, aided with a submersible camera (costing $1,000 per day) and ISS Volunteer Crew searched the area around the floating bridge when a second anonymous note was received, stating that they were searching on the wrong side.
On the fifth day of the search, the Kelowna RCMP Divers officially joined the underwater search and on the sixth day, Friday, April 3 at 10:14am, International Sea Search located human remains and telephoned the Kelowna RCMP who arrived at the scene at 10:17am. The Kelowna RCMP Police divers went into Okanagan Lake, bagged the body, and brought it to the surface around noon. The following Monday, the remains were taken to Vancouver where they were discovered not to be Charles'. Whether the witness testimony was mistaken or if his body is still in the lake is unknown.
Although most of the evidence seemed to indicate that Charles had met with foul play, there also seemed to be some evidence that he vanished voluntarily. Police specifically point to the fact that he had visited the Zebroffs several months after he last contacted Denise. Furthermore, two relatives claimed that he had told them that he had thought about "disappearing off the face of the Earth" and that Denise would never find him. However, she is certain that he would not disappear without contacting her.
There have been reported sightings of Charles hitchhiking throughout Canada as late as April of 1992. However, they have not been confirmed.
Suspects: No known suspects. An anonymous note claimed that two unidentified men had attacked Charles at Tiny Tent Town and dumped his body in Okanagan Lake. However, it was discovered that the remains found were not Charles'. The police are not taking these notes as reliable.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 12, 1994 episode.
Results: Unsolved. In 2010, the Serious Crime Unit of the RCMP listed Charles as "deceased". In 2015, Denise noted that her trip to Canada to search for him would probably be her last one due to health problems and financial difficulties. In 2017, she appeared on Britain's Got Talent as a part of the "Missing People Choir". If Charles is still alive, he would now be fifty-one.
Sadly, Charles's father, Max, and godfather have both since passed away.
- Charles Horvath on Unsolved.com
- Charles Horvath on Wikipedia
- Charles Horvath Missing Twitter Page
- Charles Horvath Missing Facebook Page
- Mom won't give up her search
- Missing man's mother gets anonymous notes
- Mother spends 40,000 pounds trying to trace son
- Mother continues search for son
- Search for missing son brings mother back to Kelowna
- Where is my son? The Denise Allan Story
- Still no sign of Charles Horvath 25 years later
- Charles Horvath-Allan's mother makes last effort in search of answers for missing son
- Mum who fears missing son was "beaten to death on campsite" makes one final trip to find out what happened 30 years ago
- UPDATE: Revived inspiration in Kelowna cold case investigation
- 'We're still searching for answers': Mother determined to solve 30-year-old case of missing son
- Have you seen this man? Forensic artist sketches image of man who disappeared 30 years ago
- The 30-Year Search for the U.K.'s Most Famous Missing Son