'Suspicious from the get-go': Parents react to police reclassification of son's death 4 years later

It's been four years since Gerry Alexander's 33-year-old son Geoffrey went missing.

A month after his disappearance, his body was found in a valley west of Estevan.

Since then, Gerry has had yearly check-ins with police, and until recently, he had always heard the same thing about his son's death.

"They said it was non-suspicious from the beginning and they stuck with it," he said Tuesday in his first media interview in years.

But last week, police re-classified Geoffrey Alexander's death as suspicious. 

In a tweet posted Thursday, Estevan police made a plea for the public's assistance regarding the "suspicious death" of Geoffrey Alexander. 

Estevan police notified Gerry and his ex-wife Janice Alexander that they would be publicly labelling Geoffrey's death as suspicious before they made their public appeal. 

But police have not revealed why they have re-classified Geoffrey's death. CBC has requested an interview with Estevan police. 

'I need closure'

For his parents, Geoffrey's death was suspicious from Day 1,

"We knew it was suspicious from the get-go," Janice said.

Gerry says he wants to find out what happened in the hours between the last time he saw Geoffrey — at a Nov. 11, 2015 birthday party for Gerry's daughter — and late the following evening, when police have told him they believe his son died. 

"It's bad when people die of cancer or a car accident or whatever. But they always know how he died. But this particular case, I don't know how he died," Gerry said.

"I need closure and I think the only way I'm going to get closure is if I find out what happened to my son."

Some of the details have come clear. Geoffrey had been living with his mother at the time. On Nov. 12, he left home to go for coffee with a friend and his mother told him to "be safe and see you later."

She never saw him again, but police have since told Janice they've determined that Geoffrey visited with a woman and went to a bank later that day.

Animals had already gotten to Geoffrey's body when it was discovered in the valley on Dec. 21, 2015, Gerry said. Because of that, it was difficult for police officers to tell him anything beyond that Geoffrey hadn't had any obviously broken bones.

And so for four years Gerry's imagination has been left to run wild with scenarios based on what little he knows about his son's final days.

RIP Geoff Alexander/Facebook

Maybe something happened to Geoffrey at a party and, instead of calling 911, people panicked and dropped him off in the valley.

Maybe his son lay in the valley suffering before his death.

Whether or not Geoffrey's death was intentional, neither Gerry nor Janice know.

"It still eats at me, not knowing what really happened to him," Janice said.

She said she has no criticism of police — that she believes they have been working on the case steadily over the past four years, but they haven't been getting enough information.

"We're waiting for somebody to come forward, because I know somebody knows," Janice said.

Remembering Geoffrey

As a child Geoffrey was a skateboarder who was an edgy dresser and had a bit of an attitude, Gerry said.

People stereotyped Geoffrey for his appearance, but he was a loving, compassionate person who loved to quietly help out his friends, Gerry said.

As a father, he took the tough love approach, which put some rifts between them. Later in life Geoffrey had problems with alcoholism, Gerry said.

After Geoffrey's death, Gerry found out from his son's friends that he was known to buy meals for friends who didn't have enough money for food and come over to visit them.

He was also a loving father to his daughter, who is now 12.

Reflecting back on November and December 2015, Gerry said adrenaline drove him and his family in their search for Geoffrey.

They put up missing person's posters all over Estevan, organized search crews that scoured the valley where police eventually found Geoffrey's body, did media interviews, and lost sleep while hunting for answers.

Like a 'horror movie'

"I always describe it as basically being in a horror movie 24-7 because from the time he went missing on the 12th [of November], we did nothing but try to figure out how to find him. I was in shock, the family was in shock," he said.

Once Geoffrey's body was found, the shock turned to devastation.

Police told Gerry and his family to hold off on doing interviews with media about the discovery.

"But I didn't think it would be four years down the road that I would be able to do an interview," Gerry said.

He and Janice said the emotions from when Geoffrey was found are all coming back to the surface.

In the statement that investigators are treating Geoffrey's death as suspicious, they put out a call for information on his disappearance or death.

Anyone with information can call Estevan police at 306-634-1505 or email AlexanderTips@estevanpolice.ca