Skip to main content

N.S. man searching for missing son finds 38-year-old message in bottle from young boy


A Nova Scotia man who has searched for his missing son almost every day for nearly three years recently came across a letter in a bottle written by an 11-year-old boy about four decades ago.

Jason Ehler, of Truro, N.S., was searching for his son Dylan along Salmon River. While looking for clues of his whereabouts, Ehler unexpectedly stumbled upon a bottle.

“I decided to try to open it. I couldn’t open it so I broke the glass and it was a note,” said Ehler.

The letter read, “My name is Greg Brightman. I am 11 years old. Would you please send a letter back should you find it?” The note also included an address and a number.

Ehler made a post on social media that included a video of the letter and asked for any information on the person who wrote it.

Brightman, now 50 years old, was enjoying his weekend when he received a call from his wife about the post.

“My wife said people were looking for me,” said Brightman.

After hanging up, Brightman saw the video of the letter and could not believe it. “Complete shock. I knew it as soon as I saw it. I knew it was my writing. It was amazing.”

He said he thought about it frequently throughout the years.

“I never expected to get anything back, never.”

Ehler drove to Maitland, where Brightman lives, and gave him the letter, which he framed.

Brightman hopes to pass the letter on to his daughter.

For Ehler, the reunion was bittersweet.

He says it's nice to go out on a search and find something that will bring someone happiness, “and make you feel good, instead of the life I’m used to.”

Dylan Ehler vanished, almost without a trace from his grandmother’s backyard on May 6, 2020. (Ehler/Brown family)

Ehler’s son vanished without a trace from his grandmother’s backyard.

Police believe Dylan fell into a stream and presumably drowned, however, his body has never been found. The only evidence found was his rain boots.

Every passing moment since then has been excruciating for the grieving father. “His birthday is coming up on April 16 and it’s a tough go without answers.”

Ehler holds many memories of Dylan close to his heart. “We’d read farm animal books and we’d go through them but when he got to the chicken that was his favourite."

"I’ll never forget it. I miss his voice. I miss everything about him.” Top Stories

Stay Connected