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Fri, August 18, 2006
Cop search for scholar called off

Family, friends still looking

By MAX MAUDIE and AJAY BHARDWAJ, Staff writers

While police have called off their search for Robert Barrington Leigh Friday, family and friends vowed to keep hunting for the missing 20-year-old scholar.

“It is a bit disappointing,” said Barrington Leigh’s older sister, Rosalind Barrington Craggs, 34, who came from Vancouver to look for her brother.

“But I understand their point of view,” added Barrington Craggs.

The search for 20-year-old Robert will enter its sixth day Saturday.

Police took over the search Thursday, setting up a command post in the Mill Creek area, a few blocks from the Barrington Leigh home.

But with no new leads, there’s nothing more they can do on the ground, said police spokesman Lisa Lammi, adding it was a “tough decision” to call it quits at 4 p.m.

“Until you get other information to lead you in another direction, I mean, we could be scouring the whole city. That’s just not possible.”

She said cops deal with 7,000 missing persons cases a year.

However, Barrington Leigh’s disappearance will remain an active police investigation, Lammi said.

“This is still very much an active and open file,” she said, adding police have received “numerous” tips.

While police are scaling back, Barrington’s Leigh’s family and friends aren’t giving up. They plan to plaster posters of Robert at Tim Hortons restaurants and in Yellow Cabs.

They also want to talk to bus drivers to see if Barrington Leigh took a bus out of town. His passport remains at home and the family figures he didn’t have the cash to get far, anyway.

His girlfriend flew in from Italy Friday to participate in the search.

Barrington Leigh, a University of Toronto math scholar who was home for a summer visit, hopped on his Raleigh mountain bike Sunday night around 10:30 p.m. to meet friends at the folk festival.

He hasn't been seen since and the only communication from him was a text message he sent to his girlfriend in Italy the night he vanished.

His credit card and bank account haven’t been touched and there's been no activity from his cellphone, police said.

A website has been set up at

One of Barrington Leigh’s professors spoke glowingly of the prized pupil.

“We expect him to go on to graduate studies at one of the world’s top universities and to have a brilliant career,” said Edward Bierstone.

He has won top awards at the University and in several international mathematics competitions.

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