There is still no sign of a 52-year-old Whitby, Ont., man who apparently went for a jog on Monday morning and did not return.
The search for Jeffrey Boucher, a father of two and a teacher at Bowmanville High School, continued on Wednesday in the neighbourhood around his home in the north end of Whitby and a wooded conservation area nearby, but his disappearance remains a mystery.
Police are unable to confirm that Mr. Boucher set out on that Monday run, saying only that it is believed that he did, based on information provided by his family, who noted that he often went on morning jogs. No one in his family saw him leave.
The search will continue through Wednesday night and into Thursday, Sergeant Nancy van Rooy of Durham Regional Police said, adding that it remains unclear whether Mr. Boucher is outdoors or whether he has found shelter.
Police remain concerned Mr. Boucher may have sustained an injury on his run and maintain no foul play is suspected in relation to his disappearance.
The search area has expanded beyond the 15-kilometre radius surrounding his neighbourhood that police outlined on Tuesday, Sgt. van Rooy said, noting that police are confident they have searched a significant geographic area both by land and by air.
There remains the hope that Mr. Boucher may have just left his home or he needed “a break,” but Sgt. van Rooy said there is no evidence of any “triggers” that would lead police to believe that was the case.
"That is within the realm of possibility that he’s chosen to step away and that he may have initially stepped out for that run, but then gone further than that and let's hope he is safe,” she said.
Investigators have examined whether there have been any medical appointments or use of an OHIP card from Mr. Boucher as well as if any financial transactions can be traced to him, but police said they have no evidence of an "electronic footprint."
"We have not found an electronic footprint that might indicate there is some sort of activity at the hands of Mr. Boucher," said Sgt. van Rooy.
Police addressed reports suggesting that money was found in Mr. Boucher’s desk at work, saying that there is no criminal investigation involving the teacher and their missing-person investigation is not concerned with that.
"There has not been any criminal offence, there has not been any theft and there is not a criminal investigation pertaining to any money in the school,” Sgt. van Rooy said.
Mr. Boucher’s 17-year-old daughter, Bettina, said her father also went for a long run on Sunday night and she said in a tweet that she was worried about him. When asked about it Wednesday, she did not say why she was concerned about him.
Staff Sergeant Steven Jones confirmed that Mr. Boucher left for a run on Sunday but returned home about 10:30 p.m.
He said Mr. Boucher’s daughter went looking for her father and found him on the roadway jogging back home.
“Mr. Boucher went for a jog on Sunday evening and was out jogging a little later than normal, but he did return home at 10:30 on Sunday night,” Staff Sgt. Jones said, adding that he had been made aware of Bettina’s tweet but did not know why she was concerned.
Police said they believe Mr. Boucher left for his Monday jog about 6 a.m. But he did not show up for work and his vehicle was found at his home.
Staff Sgt. Jones said police have obtained surveillance video from homes in the area showing a man running at approximately the time when Mr. Boucher would have been. But the quality of the image is poor and police cannot confirm that it is the missing man.
Neighbours described Mr. Boucher as “very athletic” and said they often saw him either running or cycling through the area.
Asked if there is any suspicion that Mr. Boucher had any personal issues, Staff Sgt. Jones said all theories are being explored. “All potential theories are going to be examined and hopefully we can find him as quickly and in as good as health possible,” he said.
Many of Mr. Boucher’s personal belongings were found at his home, his wife, Kirsten Boucher, said on Tuesday. “Everything’s at home. Every single bank card, every single penny, every single key … everything is here,” she told The Globe and Mail.
Bowmanville High School issued a statement from the principal, Charlotte Filip, on Tuesday informing students and parents that a teacher was missing and that counsellors have been brought in to provide support to those who need it.
“We all remain hopeful for Mr. Boucher’s safe, prompt return,” Ms. Filip said in the message.
The search that commenced on Monday has included searching roadways, parks, a near-by conservation area and commercial areas, and has included air search units, canine units and ground crews.
Mr. Boucher is described as white, six feet tall, 180 pounds with grey and white short hair. Police believe he was wearing Mountain Equipment Co-op running gear coloured black and dark blue when he set out on the run
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Durham Regional Police.
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