(PNS reporting from MONTREAL) A Los Angeles man who had not been heard from since he fled to Canada in 1970 to avoid the Vietnam War draft has been found in Montreal, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
When Albert “Sleepy” Dominguez missed the 1970 Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles, noone knew he had quietly slipped out of the country the night before to go underground and avoid conscription to Vietnam.
Dominguez, then 19 years old, went so underground that neither family, friends nor the U.S. government could locate him to inform him that he was never, in fact, drafted.
When the war ended, a special joint U.S.-Canadian task force was created to help return Dominguez to his family, but every time they were close to locating him, Dominguez would evade capture and go even deeper underground.
The details that emerged of Dominguez’s life in Canuckia are as strange as they are sad.
Upon entering Vancouver by posing as a roadie for Cheech and Chong, he changed his name to Domingo Dimanche and literally went underground by working as a driver for the Montreal Metro.
His master plan involved moving his residence every few years to prevent the authorities from catching his trail.
After Montreal, Dominguez changed his name to Delbert McKibben and moved to Edmonton, where he spent six months as a lumberjack.
During his flight he worked as a mechanic in Winnipeg, a rustproofer in Toronto, a maple tapper in Calgary and even assumed the identity of a Lebanese sock salesman, Ahmed Al-Saqqi, while he lived six years in the Yukon.
But perhaps the strangest identity Dominguez assumed was as a conservative radio talk show host in Saskatoon named Kent MacKenzie.
According to documents obtained by authorities in Dominguez’s abandoned apartment, the identity change was part of an elaborate plan to fund the creation of a Chicano separatist province named Saskatchaztlan.
Unfortunately, his program, Wake Up, Eh, With Kent MacKenzie, was a ratings hit, and Dominguez unwittingly helped elect conservative politicians for seven straight elections.
After searching in vain for 30 years, the U.S. government officially declared Dominguez dead, because, as his FBI file stated, “Nobody would want to stay in Canada that long.”
In 2012, however, Dominguez’s family received a mysterious postcard from Montreal with the single word “Pardon” written on it.
While they could not ascertain whether it was a request for a pardon from the government or simply the French word for “I’m sorry,” Dominguez’s parents renewed their efforts to locate their son.
“We knew it was him,” said Dominguez’s long-suffering mother, Inez, “because he never could make a good ‘P.'”
Almost by coincidence, authorities caught Dominguez’s trail in 2013 when a person matching his updated description was seen on the Montreal Metro.
A police investigation revealed that Dominguez had been living for eight years as a popular mime named Ilya Le Fou on Ste. Catherine St.
When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police finally confronted Dominguez and informed him he was never a wanted man in the United States, he was “speechless,” according to authorities.
Triumphant RCMP officials, meanwhile, were jubilant. “We always get our meng,” one top Mountie told PNS.
Authorities searching his apartment found clear evidence Dominguez was planning his next move — hoping to blend in as a soccer coach named Gilberto in Montreal’s burgeoning Mexican immigrant community.
Dominguez, police say, was experimenting with different moustache styles, had compiled an extensive list of Mexican expletives and even enrolled in a Spanish class at the local community college.
The news of Dominguez’s discovery has created a stir in the U.S. Chicano community, which is now predominantly located at UCLA and parts of Northridge and San Diego.
Dominguez, now 63 years old, has yet to issue a statement, and it is unclear how he will react to the news that the girlfriend he left behind, Lorena “Carney” Guisada, gave birth to Mexican twins 10 and 19 months after he disappeared.
“His children are going to be so happy to see him,” said Guisada.
Dominguez’s parents are looking forward to being reunited with their son, and his father has even planted a maple next to the avocado tree in their Pacoima backyard in case he gets homesick.
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