South Simcoe Police confirmed Monday the body pulled from a pond on Friday is that of 15-year-old Siem Zerezghi of Bradford.
Police Chief Andrew Fletcher told a media briefing they don’t believe there was any foul play.
Siem was last seen in his neighbourhood on Saturday, Oct 24.
Searchers found items belonging to the boy in a field Friday afternoon in the area of the Eighth Line and Professor Day Drive, which resulted in Ontario Provincial Police divers being called in to check the pond. A body was recovered that evening.
Fletcher said the investigation is continuing and there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
“We’re going to continue to appeal to the community to share with us any video messages, and anything they know, anything they find that is going to help us advance this investigation and identify for us what happened in those last moments of Siem’s life.”
Investigators don’t know what drew Siem to that pond but Fletcher said he was familiar with that pond.
“It’s a regular route for Siem to travel between his parents house and his aunt’s house. We know his father took him there to play sports, so he is familiar with that area.”
Fletcher added it’s not suspicious in anyway to find himself at that point.
He said when Siem’s parents found him missing earlier on Oct. 24 they commenced their own search, and they reached out to friends, then turned to police for help around 11 p.m. that night.
Fletcher said the investigation as with any missing person case starts from the moment that report is received.
“We starting contacting other family members. We contract friends and associates and we do what we can to try and identify where Siem may be. And of course, we try not to think of the worst. At the beginning, we hope he’s off in somebody’s living room or basement playing games, or with some friends or just taking a walk.”
Fletcher praised the community for coming forward with information in those early days. He said it was important for people to know a lot was happening behind the scenes before police actually advanced to a formal ground search.
He said the investigation took police out of Bradford and into neighbouring communities as far away as Cobourg and north of the community and into Newmarket. Fletcher explained it wasn’t abnormal for Siem to go and visit people in these communities and walk back.
“So our search was fairly broad in both scope and magnitude. As the week progressed, we committed more resources to it.”
Fletcher emphasized this wasn’t just a case of wandering around a neighbourhood aimlessly hoping to find Siem.
Police searched on foot, used ATV’s, a drone and other resources during their search as well as bringing in volunteers and firefighters.
Fletcher explained why an Amber Alert wasn’t issued.
“The Amber Alert process for guidance in these problems is for people that go missing under suspicious circumstances early on in the investigation. And it’s usually the case where we have an abduction or a child removed from the home. We have a vehicle and we have person. That was not the criteria for this investigation.”
Fletcher praised the community for the support shown to police and to those who attended a vigil for Siem on Sunday evening.