In April of last year, 3-year-old Dylan Ehler vanished from his small town of Truro in Nova Scotia. His grandmother says she and Dylan were playing in her yard, she turned her back to leash their dog, and Dylan was gone when she turned back around. As Katherine Laidlaw writes in a lengthy look at the case in Wired, Dylan remains missing to this day. The boy loved to run, and the best guess is that he slipped out of the yard on his own, made his way to a path that leads to a brook, and got swept away in the tide-driven water that eventually ends up in the Bay of Fundy. Searchers found one of his rain boots in the brook and another downstream in muck. The story, however, isn't just about Dylan's disappearance, but how self-anointed online sleuths have tormented parents Ashley Brown and Jason Ehler with suspicions of foul play.
"No one gives you a pamphlet on how to be a missing child’s mother,” says Ashley. Before her son disappeared, she had made a TikTok video—joining in a popular Frozen parody—in which she mouthed the lyrics to a song, "Will you help me hide a body?" For reasons such as that, an online posse is certain that she, or maybe Jason, or maybe the grandmother, killed Dylan. When Ashley got a haircut amid all the media appearances for her son, that was seen as another sign of guilt. An online psychic joined the posse and further fanned the flames. The couple talk about having another child together, or leaving Truro to avoid the suspicious stares, but for now they remain. Jason, while holding onto the hope that Dylan is alive, still regularly searches the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, keeping a detailed map of where's he's been and where to look next. (Read the full story.)