16 March 1995
A party at Luna Cres in Pickering, Ontario is in full swing. Along with the dancing and drinking, there is evidence that drugs were being consumed.
At about 12:50 AM, six youths,
Jay Boyle, Michael Cummins, Jamie Lefebvre, Danny Higgins, Robbie Rumbolt and Chad Smith leave the party, telling friends they were going to “goof around” at a local marina.
At 01:30 Jay Boyle phoned his girlfriend, Monique Vavala, stating that it was his intention to go for joy ride on a water tricycle. Monique talked him out of the possible misadventure and was assured by Jay that he and the two chums who were with him, Robbie Rumboldt and Michael Cummins, would be coming to Monique's apartment. He did not show up and was never seen again.
Monique also revealed to police that on the night before, Jay, Chad Smith and Robbie had taken the water tricycle for a joy ride. When they were finished they returned the tricycle to the marina but did not tie it up properly to its post.
Michael Cummins, Robbie Rumbolt and Jamie Lefebvre are seen on surveillance camera footage at East Shore Marina. Allegedly, the boys split into two groups and went to separate marinas. A water tricycle taken the night before, a 4-meter imitation Boston Whaler motor boat with no life jackets and a case of beer taken from another boat were said to have been stolen by the boys. Boston Whalers are known as “unsinkable” due to their inner styrofoam layer construction. Two of the boys were known to be experienced boaters. However, the boat only had a half tank of gas.
3:00 AM (approx.)
Two “year round boat dwellers” of the Marina recall hearing a boat’s motor on the lake between the hours of 2:30 and 3 in the morning.
Two of the boys' girlfriends report the boys as missing They appear to have been blown off by Officer Gillam of the Durham Police. He basically told them to have the parents contact him to file a report. Part of his rationale was that since the call from Jay Boyle was received at 01:30, the boys were technically not missing.
Unfortunately the search for the boys wouldn’t begin until March 20.
A day and a half after the initial missing persons report was made, the police begin to search in the afternoon. Only when the water tricycle and motorboat were reported missing from Frenchman’s Bay did the police infer that the boys may have become stranded on the lake.
The coastline was searched for several kilometres on either side of the marina. The Toronto Police marine unit and the Canadian Coast Guard took to the lake. The Canadian Forces Base in Trenton deployed a plane and two helicopters to perform a grid search over the water. Neighbouring police forces and the US border authorities were notified as well.
Water tricycle seen
Aerial searchers notice a aqua-cycle/water tricycle floating in Lake Ontario about 20 metres from the shore. However, choppy conditions prohibited its retrieval. It was never recovered. The value of the aqua-cycle relating to the boys' disappearance was called into question. Jay Boyle's girlfriend at the time pointed out the water tricycle could have floated away after the joyride the night before as it wasn't tied back to its post.
After 2 and a half days of trying to locate any sign of the boys or the boat, the search is called off. Private citizens picked up the slack, taking it upon themselves to keep the search going. Scouring the shoreline on foot, canvassing the lake in boats and even flying overhead in private planes, citizen searchers found no trace of the boys. After several days pass, the private citizen search comes to an end.
60 kilometres from Frenchman's bay near Wilson NY, a gas tank is spotted. Allegedly, this gas tank came from the imitation Boston Whaler the boys are thought to have taken. The gas tank's bilingual markings ID'd it as originating in Canada. Linking the tank to the boat was more tenuous. A dent. Apparently, this dent allowed marina employees to confirm it belonged to the missing boat. For more information on the gas can and other oddities, click here.
Human remains found
Two sets of remains are found near the intake of Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Station in Queenston, a power plant on the Niagara River. One set of remains was encased in a pair of red Levis jeans.
It took until 2013 before the significance of this discovery was made clear. Jay Boyle was photographed wearing red Levis jeans on the night he disappeared. For more information on the red pants controversy click here.
Private Investigator, Bruce Ricketts begins to work on the case.
Awareness of remains
Two sets of remains are found near the intake of Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Station in Queenston, a power plant on the Niagara River. One set of remains was encased in a pair of red Levis jeans. Jay Boyle was photographed wearing red Levis jeans on the night he disappeared. For more on the red pants controversy, click here.
15 March 2014
Shortly before the 19th anniversary, the Boyle family speaks out about how long they've waited after requesting a DNA test on the unidentified remains.
The family of Jay Boyle create a Change.org petition requesting DNA testing. It’s posted in the week leading up to the 19th anniversary. Directed at Durham and Niagara police services, the petition proclaims “We’ve asked police to do a DNA test on the remains but so far they’ve declined.”
Durham Region Det. Sheridan denies refusing DNA testing. Citing a “miscommunication”, DRPS responded to the "uproar" over the petition for DNA testing. Media attention garnered by the petition chronicled the Boyle family's quest for answers regarding the remains. DRPS claims DNA testing isn’t up to them, it’s up to the Centre for Forensic Sciences. On the other hand, Niagara Region Const. Gadreau claims “the ball is in Durham’s court”.
17 March 2015
20 years have passed since Jay Boyle, Michael Cummins, Chad Smith, Robbie Rumboldt, Jamie Lefebvre and Danny Higgins were last seen.
“A day to put all their names and faces back in the spotlight, just that one day even,” (Jay’s sister)
After facing a lack of support, confusion over DNA testing and enduring the pain of another missing family friend, the Boyle family thought Canada should do more. Many agreed. A petition is created to declare a National Missing Persons Day. RCMP numbers suggest approximately 71,000 people went missing in 2015 alone. Most Canadians aren't aware DNA isn't kept in a database. Families need to submit DNA for any potential testing. The petition will be presented to the Parliament of Canada in the fall by Scarborough Southwest MP Bill Blair. View the petition here.
A new website is created to provide continuity to the understanding of the case. It is meant to augment the Facebook page.