Jeffrey Boucher ground search to be scaled back

Police plan to start scaling back their ground search for Jeffrey Boucher, the Whitby, Ont., teacher who has been missing since Monday, presumably after he went on one of his regular jogs.

'There is nothing conclusive as to where he's gone and why,' Durham Regional Police sergeant says

Police plan to start scaling back their ground search for Jeffrey Boucher, the Whitby, Ont., teacher who has been missing since Monday, presumably after heading out for one of his regular jogs. 2:52

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Police plan to start scaling back their ground search for Jeffrey Boucher, the Whitby, Ont., teacher who has been missing since Monday, presumably after heading out for one of his regular jogs.

In an update on Thursday morning, Durham Regional Police Sgt. Nancy van Rooy said police have widened the geographical area of their search but will begin a partial scaleback starting Thursday night and continuing Friday.

She also said police have no new leads about the whereabouts of the 52-year-old teacher at Bowmanville High School, who is married with two daughters.

"There is nothing yet conclusive as to where he's gone and why," said van Rooy. "We'd like to find that lead that will give us that next direction in this investigation."

It's thought that Boucher, an avid runner who went for long runs almost daily, went for a jog early Monday, though van Rooy said no one saw him leave that morning.

"Nobody physically saw him gear up for his run, but it's presumed he did go," she said.

Money found at work explained

Van Rooy said police are hoping Boucher is somewhere indoors, as it's unlikely he would be able to survive outside in the cold for more than 24 hours if dressed only in running gear.

"We're hoping he's stepped away from his usual routines of work and family," she said.  "Let's hope he's gone indoors and that he's OK."

Van Rooy said police are "very confident" extensive ground and air searches have covered the majority of the areas where Boucher was known to go running.

Police said social media was abuzz with rumours about Boucher, and van Rooy said police are monitoring posts.

Police were asked about money found in Boucher's desk at work. Later, the school board said the money was for a class ski trip.

Van Rooy said there is no reason to believe Boucher is involved with anything criminal. She said it is possible he "stepped away" voluntarily. If that is the case, she urged him to get in touch with police to let them know he is safe.

"We have nothing that is substantive that shows there was a trigger to a change of behaviour, but if that is the explanation, let's hope so, and if Mr. Boucher or anybody else who knows his whereabouts can let us know that he is safe and sound, that's ultimately what we're looking to do," she said.

"Everybody has good things to say about him. The consensus is he's a man of routine."

Van Rooy asked Boucher to contact police if possible to let them know he's OK.

"Make some effort, reach out and let us know you are OK and we can take it from that point."

Van Rooy added there is no "electronic footprint" for the missing man — no hospital attendance or financial activity on his account since he has gone missing. Police are not sure whether or not he has a cellphone with him.

His daughter, Bettina Boucher, told CBC News that her family is trying to stay positive, but they are in the dark regarding his whereabouts.

"We’re just really confused and we don’t know what could have happened," she said Wednesday during an interview at the front door of the family’s home.

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