After more than two weeks of hunting for Brandon Crisp, police in Barrie, Canada are calling off their ground search efforts.
Law enforcement spokesman Sgt. Dave Goodbrand told the CanWest News Service:
We've exhausted our search in the area. We're going to look through our tips and make a determination of where else to look... We didn't find [Brandon] and that means there's a potential likelihood that he's hiding out. We don't want to assume anything at this point because he could be anywhere.
No foul play has been suspected yet. He just basically vanished.
As police continue to review more than a thousand tips received from the public, they are also awaiting the results of a forensic examination of Brandon's Xbox 360. According to reports, Microsoft Canada is cooperating fully in the investigation.
Meanwhile, CTV technology columnist Kris Abel offered an opinion on what the game console might reveal to investigators:
While Brandon may have gamed with some individuals through Xbox Live, you can't really communicate with other people or share information in the way one can through a social networking website like Facebook.
You can talk over a headset with other gamers [during games], but there's no privacy. All the other players can hear. It's possible to send voice messages through Xbox to a specific user. One can also send text messages, but it's difficult to do. Such messages are generally of the "let's game at 7 o'clock" variety, Abel said. If someone in Brandon's situation did meet a predator online, they would likely have communicated privately over regular online channels where it would be much easier, he said.
"Now, one reason they're going through his Xbox is because it has a detailed record of every player he ever played against and every player he may have sent messages to," Abel said.
"And of course every account has information on it in terms of address. So that's why they may be going through that with a comb."