Ontario man declared dead in 1986 found alive in U.S., police say

A man missing for almost 40 years and declared dead by the courts has been confirmed alive by Ontario Provincial Police.

LONDON, Ont. — A man missing for almost 40 years and declared dead by the courts has been confirmed alive by Ontario Provincial Police.

Police say Ronald Stan, who was reported missing after a 1977 fire in a rural area near London, Ont., has been found alive and residing under an “assumed identity” in the United States.

Officers with the Middlesex County detachment and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an investigation after an early-morning barn fire on Sept. 29, 1977, in the former Township of East Williams.

In 1986, almost nine years after his disappearance, the missing man was declared deceased by the courts.

The investigation was reopened in July during a routine audit of the case and police say it was discovered the man, who was 32 at the time of his disappearance, was alive and living in the U.S. as Jeff Walton, 69.

Const. Laurie Houghton says the affected families and American authorities have been notified of the results of the investigation, adding the case is now closed and no charges are being laid.

“At this time there’s no basis for charges under the Criminal Code of Canada so we won’t be laying any charges in this matter,” she said.

Houghton had no further details about how the man ended up in the U.S. under a different name.

“I can’t speak to his motives,” she said.

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