Police expanding search for Whitby teacher

Police say they are expanding the area of their search for Bowmanville High School teacher Jeffrey Boucher who has been missing since Jan. 13.

“We want to be even more comprehensive by expanding our search geographically, which is what we are doing today,” said Durham Regional Police media spokesperson Sgt. Nancy van Rooy at a Jan. 16 press conference.

Police say there are no significant developments in the case.

Police may scale back the full search as early as Friday morning if Boucher is not found, van Rooy said.  However, the missing persons investigation will remain open and active until Boucher’s whereabouts and well-being are known.

The 52-year-old teacher was reported missing by his family early on Jan. 13. They believe he went missing after a routine early morning jog. No one saw Boucher leave home that morning, but as a longtime runner this was part of his regular day.

“Consensus has been he’s a man of routine. That’s what people find most alarming,” said Van Rooy.

Boucher did not have a regular running route, making the search more complicated. Police are using helicopters and officers on the ground to scour forested areas, ditches, and roadsides in the area.

Van Rooy said Boucher’s chances of survival are poor if he has been outside for more than 24 hours.  Police have consulted with Canadian Forces Base Trenton for accurate information regarding outdoor survival possibilities, which will depend on Boucher’s clothing, hydration, and warmth.

Neighbours and volunteers have been assisting where possible. Some residents of Boucher’s community are offering home surveillance tapes that may contain information pertaining to this case.

Police have no reason to suspect suspicious activity, and encourage anyone following the case to remain skeptical about rumours on social media.

Questions have been raised about money found in Boucher’s desk at school, but the money was reportedly being collected for a class ski trip.

None of Boucher’s credit cards shows signs of activity, nor has there been any indication of travel. Police have looked into work, family, social, and financial situations, none of which suggests Boucher had any reason to bolt. Van Rooy says it remains a possibility that he “stepped away.”

The public is encouraged to report any potential leads or developments in this case to Durham Regional Police.

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