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The detective in charge of the search for missing Rugby teenager Toby Burwell has joined with Toby’s parents to thank residents for their support as the search continues.
DI Gareth Unett, who has led the investigation from the start, said: “People across the borough and beyond have been saddened and worried since Toby disappeared from his home in Rugby, where he lives with his parents, Tim and Alan. We thank everyone for their ongoing support.
“Though Toby remains missing, I would now, with Tim and Alan’s agreement, like to provide a more detailed update on the police investigation.
“At present, the evidence we have gathered strongly supports the conclusion that Toby went to Newbold Quarry alone for a swim and that, tragically, he got into difficulty and remains in the water. Toby is known to have previously gone swimming there at night.
“As part of our investigation we have maintained an open mind, speaking with Toby’s friends, reviewing local CCTV and responding to potential sightings, considering all alternative explanations.
“Despite extensive, expert-led searches, we have found no evidence that Toby ever left the water, and there has been no positive sighting since.
“Since Toby was reported missing five weeks ago, we have been carrying out search activity at the quarry, both on the land and in the water.
“We have utilised extensive support from police and partner agencies from across the country.
“Specialist search officers, expert police divers, above-water search experts and sonar were just some of the methods we have been using and continue to use.
“Specialist divers have conducted searches of a large area covering near to where Toby is believed to have gone into the water, but as they moved into the deepest parts of the quarry they were faced with significant hazards - such as trees, machinery and thick vegetation.
“Sonar, underwater drones and similar methods proved ineffective because of this and, as the debris got thicker and visibility reduced, divers were reduced to ‘touch searching’.
“Advice was sought from national experts and based on the significant risk, diving activity has been paused while we pursue other technological solutions to search the water.
“We are still at the quarry each day, and plan to be for the foreseeable future, where we will continue to deploy a variety of assets in our efforts to locate Toby.
“We continue to keep Tim and Alan fully informed, and they are happy with the strategy being pursued.
“We would like to thank all of Toby’s friends and loved ones for their help and support throughout. We also extend our heartfelt sympathy to them at this difficult time.
“I would like to thank everyone for continuing to respect the privacy of Toby’s family, for avoiding speculation on social media and for staying away from the water.”
Issued by: AG, Corporate Comms.