Duncan Campbell remembered on anniversary eve of his disappearance

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 5, 2003

Ed and Sally Campbell will be leaving Suffolk today on an extended visit to family in North Carolina. Her husband is taking her away from the place where their son was brutally slain Jan. 6, 2002,

Edward Duncan Campbell was strangled to death with a belt and left for dead, face down, in the snow and freezing water of a pond alongside Nansemond Parkway. His body was not found until March by a man and his 5-year-old son who’d been fishing in the pond. Campbell’s parents believe he was the victim of a carjacking and robbery.

Campbell’s mother, Sally, admits she had to be hospitalized for 11 days after her son’s disappearance. She said she nearly &uot;lost it.&uot; She is recovering and is participating in the &uot;Victims Against Crime&uot; group.

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&uot;Duncan was a special boy, son and brother and friend,&uot; said Sally Campbell. &uot;There were so many of his friends at the church for his funeral service and I know he will be missed. We may never know who murdered our son or why, but God knows and He will handle it. Maybe, not in my time, but in His.&uot;

Monday’s trip to Carolina will be greatly different than Ed Campbell’s last excursion with his son. They traveled to the Outer Banks on a fishing weekend on their last adventure together.

&uot;Duncan could learn anything if he applied himself,&uot; said Campbell of his son. &uot;One of the things I did to get him graduated was take him fishing the weekend before he was to take his senior finals in math. I knew that while the fish were not biting, he could study. I could know he was studying instead of his running around with his friends and he would pass the test. He did pass and graduated from Western Branch High School.&uot;

The murdered youth had dreams of one day opening an auto body repair shop. He loved to work on vehicles and he and his best friend, Joshua Dungan, had planned to restore an old sheriff’s car brought to Dungan’s Quaker Drive home from North Carolina.

Campbell said his son’s funeral was held only one day before the young man’s fire engine red 1987 Toyota 4-Runner was discovered in a parking lot in Portsmouth. He was disturbed that police arrived at the parking lot, sirens screaming, lights flashing, alerting everyone police were on the scene instead of staking it out to see if a driver returned to it. When the vehicle was finally located, it had an additional 4,000 miles on the odometer, and the license plates bearing Virginia tags YGH 9323 were still attached.

The distraught father also noted that laws pertaining missing youth must be changed.

&uot;In Chesapeake especially… Unless you file a report stating that they have stolen the family vehicle, they don’t put much effort into looking for a missing young person,&uot; said Campbell. &uot;We called to report Duncan’s truck missing and the way the laws are currently written, if the vehicle is missing and it turns up later with your child driving it, they will not let the charge drop. They charge the kids with grand theft auto and that’s just not right. So, if your kid is missing, they put the parents in a bad position by saying the kids must be charged. Duncan may have been found months earlier if they (Chesapeake police) had just looked for him.&uot;

While Campbell is frustrated over the investigation, he said he wants the investigators to &uot;get it right&uot; so that the case isn’t tossed out of court on a technicality.

Campbell also said that if a stranger needed a shirt, his son was the type to take his shirt off and give it to the needy. He believes that generous trait may have helped get his son murdered. As it was, Duncan disappeared on his way to a friend’s home to help him out.

&uot;On the day Duncan disappeared, there was all that snow and slush out there, and someone may have gotten stuck in it,&uot; said Campbell. &uot;He would have stopped to help, even though he may not have known who it was.&uot;

The Campbells have one other child and they are fiercely protective of her. She is away at college, a school they chose not to name. The 18-year old attends college on a full scholarship with a 4.0 grade point average.

Dungan described his slain friend as &uot;kinda’ goofy at times, someone who liked to joke around and have a good time.&uot; He added that Duncan was also an artist who enjoyed art as a means of showing his love for others. Dungan and his mom, Pat, have plenty of the artwork to treasure.

&uot;He was my best friend, my brother,&uot; said Dungan. &uot;He knew if he’d needed my help I would have been there for him. I just wish I’d known…One of our friends, Charles Fritz, even wrote a poem in honor of Duncan.&uot;

Fritz’s poem:

&uot;My Friend Duncan&uot;

Every time we hang out together you touched us with your presence,

The way you saw the world was like a dream.

We shared our ideas, ambitions and hopes for our futures.

You could always make me laugh.

Duncan made me appreciate how good apple juice and fishing really are

And I’ll always cherish the memories we shared together.

Great souls like Duncan’s are hard to find

But, Duncan’s soul could be seen by a blind man.

Duncan had the gift of life and I thank him for being my friend.

I hope the angels give you a fishing rod

To catch those big ones you always tell me about.

Duncan was a person who loved everyone with the utmost respect.

I’ll miss hearing your voice and being with you,

You’ll always be my friend, Duncan, and I will not forget you.