Missing Edmonton student found dead in river

Robert Barrington Leigh
Robert Barrington Leigh
Photograph by : Supplied

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The Edmonton Journal

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The web site set up to coordinate search efforts for 20-year-old Robert Barrington Leigh reported Leigh’s body was found in the North Saskatchewan River Tuesday morning.

"Dear friends," the web site noted.

"Robert was found dead in the North Saskatchewan River at 11:00 a.m. this morning and identified by police around midday.

"We are holding a vigil for volunteers and community tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Park (meet at the Queen Elizabeth Pool), in order to give our appreciation for the amazing outpouring of support this week. Please bring a candle if you feel like it," remarks on the web site noted.

Edmonton police said the body of a man was found on the north side of the North Saskatchewan river near Rafter's Landing by a City of Edmonton water and sanitation jet boat.

The body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office for examination, according to a news release.

An autopsy has been scheduled for tomorrow. Identification found on the body was that of Robert Barrington Leigh, police said.

It is hoped that dental records will provide a positive identification. A backpack was also found on the victim. No foul play is suspected, police said.

Edmonton firefighters pulled the body from the North Saskatchewan River Tuesday morning, near 92nd Street and 99th Avenue.

"The body was just located in the river, but it was caught in some debris," said emergency response department spokeswoman Nikki Booth.

She said it took a crew of four less than an hour to remove the body from the river and transfer it to the rescue boat. They were called to the scene shortly before 11 a.m. The body was taken to the medical examiner's office, where a gender, age, and identity will be determined.

Edmonton police homicide detectives were on-scene to assist.

The discovery was just across the river from Gallagher Park, where Leigh, who has been missing since last week was headed.

The young man was last seen leaving his parents' home on his mountain bike Aug. 13, headed for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival at Gallagher Park. When he did not show up, his family reported him missing the following day.

The family posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to the university student being found, and set up a website detailing the search for him at www.findrobert.ca.

The mood at the volunteers' search headquarters, at 89th Avenue and 99th Street, was sombre Tuesday afternoon as news a body had been found spread.

Pending autopsy results, police would not say anything about the body.

Read Wednesday’s Journal for the full story.

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

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