Monday, September 21, 2020
Sept. 21, 2020

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Massachusetts woman seeks clues to help find brother in Vancouver area

Before disappearing in 2018, Joseph A. Donais had been living in Vancouver

By , Columbian staff reporter

Bonnie Legendre isn’t ready to give up, even though she has accepted her brother might be dead.

Since last summer, Legendre has searched for clues about Joseph A. Donais, who was last known to be living in Vancouver before disappearing in July 2018.

Legendre, of North Attleborough, Mass., said she isn’t close to her half brother, an Army veteran who suffers from medical and mental health ailments and is estranged from many family members. Most of his contacts with his family were through Facebook Messenger, she said.

Legendre said her brother told family members he was moving east, but he didn’t specify a destination or travel mode.

“I want to know what’s going on,” she said during a recent telephone interview. “If he is in Vancouver and watching a TV somewhere, fine. If he is deceased somewhere between Vancouver and the East Coast and is still listed as a John Doe, I don’t want that. I want to bring him home.”

There has been speculation that Donais might have wanted to bicycle across the country, in part because his father once had cycled from Florida up the Eastern Seaboard to Maine, Legendre said. His father was training for another long-distance ride when he died in his sleep at a Florida campsite in 2000, she said.

Donais may also have taken a train or bus. One of his daughters offered to buy him a ticket east before he went missing, Legendre said.

“He contacted a lot of family just prior to him disappearing,” she said. “He was heading out east. He had talked to his daughter, whom he was in fairly regular contact with.”

In October, Legendre listed her brother with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. His case number is MP61192.

Anyone who has information about Donais can contact Lori Bruski, Legendre’s representative at the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, by phone, 817-718-7904, or by email,

“There are a lot of scammers out there,” Legendre said. ” And rather than me being inundated with phone calls that won’t lead anywhere, that’s what they suggested I do.”

Much of what Legendre knows comes from Donais’ Facebook account, Her brother would post poetry using the pseudonym “DreadfulBride.”

Donais was a regular Facebook user until his account went quiet after his final post on July 25.

Based on his Facebook page, Legendre knows her brother arrived in Portland on May 5, 2016, aboard a Greyhound bus from Casper, Wyo. Fifteen days later, Donais posted that he had found a roommate in Vancouver.

Donais would have turned 56 in August. He is described as a bald man with brown eyes, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighing 170 to 180 pounds.

He has a tattoo on his upper right arm with Korean writing and a praying mantis, along with a tattoo of the world with a peace sign in the middle of his chest.

Legendre said she has tried to work with police agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration with limited results since she would not be listed as an emergency contact.

“I am so far down the next-of-kin line,” she said.

Donais had previous heart attacks and also is bipolar and schizophrenic, Legendre said.

“I don’t know if he is in a hospital somewhere,” she said. “I don’t know if he passed away on his way to the East Coast.”

Legendre said she intends to keep up her search, even though she has told her brother’s daughters that they may never find out what happened to Donais.

“If Joe is reading this … we are worried,” Legendre said. “If you want to be left alone, we will leave you alone. But just let us know you are OK.”