Whitby teacher Jeffrey Boucher likely fell off pier, police say

Police have said there is no evidence so far that leads them to believe the probable death of Jeffrey Boucher was suicide and that it is very possible the Whitby teacher was running along the pier when he fell and was possibly dragged by a current to where his body was discovered.

Police say there is no evidence that leads them to believe it was suicide

Police believe the body recovered from the Lake Ontario shoreline Saturday is that of missing Whitby teacher Jeffrey Boucher. (Durham Regional Police)

Police have said there is no evidence so far that leads them to believe the probable death of Jeffrey Boucher was a suicide.

It’s very possible that the teacher was running along the pier in Whitby, Ont., when he fell, according to police. A current may then have dragged his body to the point where it was discovered.

Boucher went missing on Jan. 13. On Saturday, police confirmed a body was found by the Lake Ontario shoreline that they believed was that of the 52-year-old Boucher.

The post-mortem will take place Monday and police are waiting for toxicology and coroner's report before cementing the identification, but they are "fairly certain" the body is that of Boucher. 

Jeffrey Boucher with his wife Kristen and two daughters. Boucher teaches at Bowmanville high school. (Boucher family)

Durham Regional Police Det. Jeff Kennedy said that it was possible Boucher fell from where he had been running on the pier and was dragged away by the current.

This past winter has been a harsh one, with a lot of snow and extremely icy conditions, which most area residents agreed made the area near the lake particularly unsafe this year.

Bud and Dianne Woodfine often walk near the lake, along the trails during the warmer months, but rarely venture that way during harsh weather.

"It was completely covered in snow, this trail… it’s a hard walk, it’s icy especially this year," Bud Woodfine said. "We didn’t come here during the winter because we know it’s icy."

From his back deck overlooking the lake, James Cheyne can see the stretch of shoreline where a passerby located the body Saturday at around 2:20 p.m.  

"It was very sad but really expected," Cheyne said, adding that he rarely sees anyone venture along those cliffs. "It’s hard to put it into words, but it must be really hard for the family, I really feel for them, it’s quite a shame.”

"I feel that it’s a very unfortunate outcome, but I’m glad the family may have some closure," said area resident Rosanne Bulat. 

On March 14, a woman walking near Heydenshore Pavilion, along the shore of Lake Ontario, found a shoe and contacted Durham Regional Police. 

Police said they believed the shoe could have belonged to Boucher. 

On Saturday, only hours before the body was discovered, a second shoe — also believed to belong to Boucher — was found at around 11 a.m. on the shoreline near the Pavilion.

A robotic underwater camera on loan from the Toronto police was used by Durham Regional Police in February to search the water along the Whitby waterfront but found no sign of Boucher. 

An exhaustive search of the trails and wooded areas near his home yielded no information in the days following his disappearance and on Jan. 20, police said they were "truly stumped" about what had happened to him.