It's been three years now without a Mother's Day telephone call from her son Mike, and Sue Mason just wants to know what happened to him when he disappeared in Olympic National Forest in 2006.
"I'm just hoping that somebody by now will say, 'I know something, I've heard something.' His whole family here needs to put this to rest," she said on June 20, the three-year anniversary of her son's disappearance.
Stephen "Mike" Mason, a handyman at VFW Post No. 4760 in Sequim, was 52 when he disappeared. He'd been dropped off at Dungeness/Forks Campground on June 20, 2006, by his wife, Berwyn. The campground is on Forest Service Road 2880 in the Quilcene Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest.
Six days elapsed
Mason was seen June 23, according to a statement issued at the time by the Clallam County Sheriff's Department, but he wasn't reported missing until June 29 when his mother and her husband Don called the sheriff's department from their Richland home.
"We don't know any more than we knew three years ago. I think something has happened; I just don't know what.
"He would have been 55 on May 29. He was our only son; we had three girls," Sue said.
The couple is so anxious to learn something - anything - about their son's fate that they are offering a reward for any information. Their phone number in Richland is 509-943-4676.
Spur to memory
"It wouldn't be much, maybe $2,000 or $3,000, but we're hoping that might spur somebody to remember something," Sue said.
"Mother's Day came and went, and he didn't call. If he didn't call, then he's not alive," she said.
She and her husband plan to travel to Clallam County in July to meet a cold-case investigator and see the area where their son went missing, Sue said.
Venay Money of Sequim, a friend of Mason's from the Sequim VFW, said she and her friends still hope to find out what happened to Mason.
"Absolutely. Absolutely. He's gone, he's not forgotten. Every night at 8 p.m. we have a prayer chain," Money said.
"We don't pray for his return now but for finding his remains. Just something to give us closure and give his family peace.
"Who would have thought when he gave me a kiss goodbye when he left it would be the last time I'd see him? It's so hard, the not knowing.
"It's been three years and nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Somebody out there has to know something. You don't just disappear. No remains have been found.
"Every year he called his mother on Mother's Day, and it's been three years with no calls. There's been no closure. It's three years tomorrow on Father's Day, which is hard on the dad."
The area where Mason went missing was determined to be within Clallam County jurisdiction, so Clallam County Search and Rescue conducted the search instead of Olympic National Forest personnel.
They searched a rugged two-mile stretch of terrain on the upper Dungeness River.
Helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles also flew along the river from the mouth at Dungeness Bay to the headwaters of the Gray Wolf River.
The search was suspended the same day after searchers became convinced Mason was not in the area.
It became a missing person case and remains open and under investigation.
Sheriff's detective Lyman Moores said nothing new has turned up.
"We don't have anything new on Mason at all."
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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