Still no leads one week after disappearance of Jeffrey Boucher

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Jeffrey Boucher, courtesy Durham Regional Police Service

The mysterious disappearance of Jeffrey Boucher stretches into its second week, with a police investigation and massive ground search finding few leads, little hope and even fewer answers.

One week into the intensive search for the Whitby, Ont., teacher and still nothing. No hints, no tips about where he might be or where he might have gone. No paper trail or outstanding motive to suggest he purposely disappeared. No signs of a struggle, signs of a body; no signs of anything.

It is as if Boucher simply vanished from the face of the Earth one week ago today.

The Durham Regional Police Service says they will gather on Monday to take stock of the situation. They will decide what comes next.

Police have been diligent in their search, launching ground and an air patrol almost immediately after Boucher was reported missing last week. They brought it a volunteer search and rescue group to cover the vast terrain, corralled locals who were set on helping in the search despite the dangerous winter conditions.

They have kept hope alive with constant updates of their progress and their searching strategy. As days passed, the updates got shorter and hope appeared to drain from the words.

"There are no significant new developments in this case," a statement released Monday reads. It had become a common declaration.

“In terms of progress, we have been able to eliminate large geographical areas due to the work of our ground and air efforts. We have followed up on tips and have attended areas where he was known to jog. We keep monitoring to see if there is any activity from Mr. Boucher, but at this time, we still do not have any concrete leads,” reads a statement released Sunday.

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Here is what we have come to know about the disappearance of Jeffrey Boucher.

The 52-year-old teacher was reported missing on the morning of Monday, Jan. 13. His family says he went out for a morning jog and has not been heard or seen from since.

Boucher is an avid runner, who is believed to cover between 10 and 15 kilometres during his daily runs. He varied his running paths, making the search tricky and the area in question vast. The police-led search has expanded as far as 25 kilometres from his family home, with special attention given to popular running trails and areas he was known to frequent.

We know that Boucher is a family man. He has been married to his wife for more than two decades and has two daughters. We know he is a teacher at Bowmanville High School; the school's principal sent a note out early in his disappearance expressing concern for him and his family.

We know that Boucher went for a very long run the night before his disappearance, to the point that it worried his family. His daughter, whose tweets about the incident have been deleted, has said he told her he lost track of time because the weather was nice.

We know that Boucher disappeared without his phone or his wallet. His car was left parked at the family home. One moment he was there, the next he was not.

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None of this information has helped Durham police come anywhere closer to determining his whereabouts. The many press conferences held to share information have all come with this disclaimer: We can't say for sure Boucher made the conscious decision to disappear. We can't say for sure he didn't.

Part of the search has included tracing Boucher's "electronic footprint" for indications that he is still alive and active. There has been no luck on that end, just as there has been no luck finding signs on the streets and fields near his home.

What remains, one week after Boucher disappeared, is the continued search: A systematic ground search that continues to expand to new territory using volunteers and on-duty officers.

A week-long ground search is surely inexpensive, even though Durham police say they have conducted the search in a "cost efficient" manner. Seven days into a ground search, hope that he will be found outdoors and alive is waning. A harsh cold front coming to southern Ontario this week will extinguish what little hope remains.

Investigators will gather on Monday to "take stock of where we are and evaluate the return on our efforts and what our next moves should be." One week after disappearance and one week into the search, there are few moves left to make.

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