We frequently hear of people going missing, one or two here and there, but this is the story of six young men who went missing one night and have yet to be found. They have yet to be found, and their families have encountered every dark road imaginable in their quest for answers.
This is a complicated story because it involves the disappearance of six young men and multiple law enforcement agencies. Six teenagers vanished on Lake Ontario near Pickering, Ontario, 28 years ago. They’ve been dubbed the “lost boys” because they appear to have vanished into thin air, leaving no trace, and it appears that even after all of this time, we’re no closer to discovering what happened to them.
On March 17, 1995, Jay Boyle, Michael Cummins, Daniel Higgins, Chad Smith, Robbie Rumboldt, and Jamie Lefebvre were last seen walking towards the East Shore Marina in Pickering, Ontario. They were all young men, all between the ages of 17 and 18 at the time. It was March break, so the group was out doing what many other teenage boys do — drinking, smoking, and partying — when they decided to head to the marina for a little more adventure. One of the boys told another that they were going to “goof around” on a boat.
At around 1:48 a.m., video surveillance caught three of them — Michael, Jamie, and Robbie — breaking into a marina on Frenchman’s Bay. In another video, they are seen stealing beer from one of the docked boats. This was the group’s final appearance, whether on video or otherwise.
The boys did not return home the next morning, they had not made contact with friends or families, and a few of their girlfriends, who were worried sick, called the police to report them missing. Initially, the police did not take the missing persons reports seriously. These were six young men who were last seen partying and having a good time together. They reasoned that they had most likely spent the night somewhere, gotten into some shenanigans, and were possibly continuing the fun elsewhere. However, when the young men were still missing two days later, police decided it was time to take the disappearance seriously.
“At first I wasn’t too worried because Jay had a tendency — not that he’d take off — but he had friends in Toronto too. He would go to Toronto, but he always kept in touch,” said Jay’s sister Amanda.
A massive search was underway by 2 p.m. Saturday, 36 hours after the boys were last seen.
Police went down to the marina to look around and talk with the people whose boats were stored there. Some marina residents reported hearing a motorboat out on the lake between 2:30 and 3 a.m. on the day in question. The following morning, two boats, including a four-metre imitation Boston Whaler motorboat and a three-wheeled paddle boat, were reported stolen from two marinas. Actually, the paddle boat resembles a massive tricycle that floats in the water. The police suspected that the boats had capsized and that the boys were not wearing life jackets. Even if they were able to swim, it’s March in Canada so the water was so cold that they would have been paralyzed by hypothermia within minutes.
Durham police were joined by the Toronto police marine unit, the Coast Guard, a Hercules C-130 aircraft, and a helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Trenton’s air-sea rescue unit. The hunt was then joined by thousands of volunteers from across southern Ontario. However, no sightings of the boys or the missing boats were reported.
There was nothing discovered, including no clothing. You’d think that if the boys had taken the boats and gone on a joy ride — even if they could have capsized the boats, which appears to be extremely difficult to do — there would be some trace of them. Bodies initially sink, but float once decomposition begins. Unless they were trapped by some brush, but it was all searched. If the boats had capsized, you’d think it would be partially visible and not completely submerged at this point, or you’d be able to post it under the water.The only item found on the lake was a gas can that is believed to have belonged to the 4-metre Boston Whaler.
That evening, the lake was relatively calm. It’s strange that six boys who were used to boating and being on the water would capsize and fall into the water. They would have all had to go in the water at the same time for all six to drown, as the police suspected.
Although the boys’ boats and bodies were never found, police believe this is the most likely scenario for what happened to them. Though the two boats were reported missing the next day, there is no proof that the boys were the ones who took them out. There was no video footage of this, and because neither the boys nor the boats were ever found, it cannot be proven.
Two sets of human remains were recovered from the Niagara River on April 10, 1998, three years after the boys went missing. One of these sets was just bones, but the second set still had some clothing on it. The first officers to arrive on the scene identified the clothing as a pair of red Levi denim jeans with a size 32 waist and 31 inseam. A brown belt, a black wallet, and white socks were also present.
Jay Boyle’s mother observed him wearing a pair of red Levi denim jeans on the day he was arrested. Jay’s sister also claimed that the belt discovered resembled Jay’s belt. When Jay Boyle’s family requested that the police investigate the remains discovered because they might be Jay’s, Durham police refused, claiming that the cost would be prohibitively expensive.
Jay’s family offered to cover the cost of the investigation. They were convinced that these were their boys’ remains. They requested the documentation with the assistance of a private detective they hired. It’s all getting a little suspicious around here. There was back and forth with the police agencies working on the case about who actually had the remains, what file number should be used when requesting access to the remains, and just a bunch of nonsense. To gain access to the remains, the family had to go through numerous hoops. Ultimately, when the investigator did get his hands on the reports in relation to the remains, a ton of it was redacted, including the notes and many names.
When they finally gained access to the remains and had them delivered to the coroner, they were informed that there wasn’t enough evidence to create a DNA profile and that the pants had been misidentified. They weren’t red Levi denim jeans at all, but rather a light orange material. They refused to let the investigator see the pants, and the coroner stated that the reason it took so long to recover the remains was because the police had misplaced them for some time.
The family put pressure on the coroner’s office to create a DNA profile, which they compared to the DNA that Jay’s mother had from his umbilical cord. When the results came in, the coroners said it wasn’t a match for Jay.
This was not the only strange thing that happened in this case. Remember the video of the three boys walking into the marina? It has since vanished. When the private investigator asked to see the video, he was told it didn’t exist. But it clearly existed at one point, as the families all recall seeing it. They watched it and recognized three of the boys in the video. That footage has now simply vanished.
There are just so many unanswered questions in this case. The video that captured the boys at the marina the morning they disappeared, did not provide many answers.
Where is the boat? Why haven’t the bodies, or at least one of them, surfaced? This is still an unsolved mystery. How do six boys go missing without a trace?