At 5:30 a.m. on May 4, the morning of his 20th birthday, Chi Thien Tran sent a text message to his parents, Thu and Thao Tran.
One word: “Bye.”
His father woke up, saw the message and immediately “realized that something wrong happened,” Thao said.
“I tried to call him,” said Thu, his mother, “but the phone didn’t work. I tried to send a text message. After that, the police also tried to track the phone. They said they cannot locate him.”
“I intended to do something, make something for his birthday. But I have no chance to tell him that,” she said.
Thao and Thu arrived in Saint John just six months ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The move was supposed to establish their new life together as a family. Since 2019, Tran, had lived with a host family on the city’s west side.
“He stayed with us for two years,” said Saint Johner Amy Brideau, who hosted Tran under the Atlantic Education International program. “He was a pleasure to have in our home. When he graduated from high school, he went to live with another Vietnamese family in the north end, then his parents had immigrated to Canada.
“We were very upset to hear the news.”
In 2021, Tran graduated from Saint John High School, where his younger brother, Chi Nhan Tran, 16, attends Grade 10.