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The body of Robert Barrington Leigh was found Tuesday in the North Saskatchewan River.

The body of Robert Barrington Leigh was found Tuesday in the North Saskatchewan River.

Robert Barrington Leigh is seen in this undated family handout photo.

Leigh is seen in this undated family handout photo.

Choking backing emotion, John Barrington Leigh spoke to reporters outside Robert's Edmonton home.

Choking backing emotion, John Barrington Leigh spoke to reporters outside Robert's Edmonton home.

Police spokesperson Lisa Lammi said foul play is not suspected.

Police spokesperson Lisa Lammi said foul play is not suspected.

Missing student's body pulled from river: family

Updated Tue. Aug. 22 2006 11:58 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Choking backing emotion, the father and brother of an Edmonton math whiz missing for nine days confirmed Tuesday that police had found the 20-year-old's body in the city's North Saskatchewan River.

"I know a lot of people have been following this, and pouring their hearts into it, and we just wanted to share the news immediately," said Robert Barrington Leigh's brother, Chris.

Police said the body was found at approximately 11:03 a.m. local time Tuesday with identification belonging to Robert Barrington Leigh.

The 20-year-old University of Toronto student was visiting family when he disappeared.

He was last seen pedaling away from his parents' 85th Street home on his bike in Edmonton on Sunday Aug. 13.

Deborah Shiry of CTV News Edmonton said that as her camera crew arrived at the riverfront near 99 Avenue and 92 Street there was tour boat in front of the body.

The body was discovered by workers on a City of Edmonton water and sanitation jet boat.

Police spokesperson Lisa Lammi said no foul play is suspected, and that it was hoped dental records would provide a positive identification.

In a news release, police said the body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office and that an autopsy has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Friends and family said Leigh was very happy and never spoke of suicide or having depression. Leigh's father, John, did not want to speculate on how his son's death occurred.

"Nobody knows anything more than that we've found the body, so it's not a question that we know what's behind the file, that's still an open investigation,'' he said.

He also thanked the public for their support.

"I just have to hope that every community, when something like this happens, has the benefit from support at this level that we've had,'' he said choking back tears.

Since last Tuesday, more than 100 volunteers collectively spent more than 2,500 hours searching the river valley, augmenting an extensive land and water search by police.

Police called off their search on Friday. More than 25,000 flyers have been distributed in Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver but no new clues had emerged, resulting in the family offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Considered one of the top mathematical minds in Canada, Leigh had signed up for an advanced mathematics course for third-year students during his first year at the University of Toronto.

Getting ready for his upcoming year at the university, he had moved into an apartment in Toronto with his girlfriend in July. He had joined his family in Edmonton while his girlfriend, also a mathematics student at the university, completed a summer credit in Italy.

Leigh's last evening had been a "very regular evening," his mother Iris Barrington told Canada AM Tuesday morning. After cooking and eating a late dinner with his family, he said he was going to meet some friends at the Edmonton Folk Festival.

"It was my understanding that he was going to be right back," his mother said.

But he never showed up.

His girlfriend, Lucy Zhang, 22, said she received a text message from him at about 11:34 Edmonton time.

"Good morning! I'm out at the moment so I can't call. Good luck on your mid-term and fondue," read the message.

Zhang flew to Edmonton to help with the search as soon as she heard her boyfriend was missing.

Edmonton police said that they have confirmed that the message was picked up by a cellphone tower near where the folk festival was being held.

With reports from CTV Edmonton and The Canadian Press

 

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