Thunder Bay

Week-long search for missing Toronto man called off but Marathon OPP still investigating

Ontario Provincial Police in Marathon, Ont., say, despite a week of searching the north-shore wilderness by ground, air and water, there's still no sign of a missing Toronto man last seen in Thunder Bay.

Brian Penny was last seen in Thunder Bay Sept. 20, his rental vehicle found near Marathon 3 days later

Brian Penny, 28, reportedly arrived in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Sept. 20 and his family hasn't heard from him since. A vehicle police said he rented was found about 45 kilometres west of Marathon on a dirt road off of Highway 17. (Ontario Provincial Police/supplied)

Ontario Provincial Police in Marathon, Ont., say, despite a week of searching the north-shore wilderness by ground, air and water, there's still no sign of a missing Toronto man last seen in Thunder Bay.

Police stopped a week-long coordinated search for Brian Penny, 28, on Sept. 30, OPP said, without finding any trace of him. The search had been using local officers as well as the OPP's emergency response team, the canine unit, and support from the air, as well as searchers on and under the water.

Penny reportedly travelled to Thunder Bay on Sept. 20; his family hasn't heard from him since. 

Police said  Penny rented a vehicle from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Thunder Bay, which was described as being a silver 2020 model year SUV. A vehicle matching that description was found by OPP officers three days later on a dirt road off of the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately 45 kilometres west of Marathon.

Police said the vehicle was unoccupied.

The investigation into Penny's disappearance remains open, Const. Peter Bertin said.

"The search definitely continues as far as the investigation goes," he told CBC News. "If we do get some days that [aren't] too bad, that possibly our marine unit could go out in the area and at least scour the shorelines."

Penny is described as being five-feet-nine-inches tall and weighing 165 pounds, with a thin build and a fair complexion. Penny has brown hair, a brown beard and brown eyes.

Unforgiving terrain

Bertin said the terrain where they were looking for Penny is a tough area to search.

"In that area, it's a very dense bush, it's a lot of rock, a lot of bedrock," he said. "The ground is fairly unforgiving with a lot of crevasses and cracks."

"We actually had one of our members that was injured during the search."

Bertin said the swells on Lake Superior also made navigation on the water difficult, with waves two to three metres high at times.

He said police are still accepting any tips or information from the public. Anyone with information is being asked to contact Marathon OPP or Crime Stoppers.

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