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Brett LeBlanc

Community Mourns Brett LeBlanc

Written by
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November 26, 2020

On Monday November 23rd, around 3:15pm, the search for missing Trent student Brett LeBlanc ended tragically when the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit located LeBlanc’s body in the Otonabee River.

LeBlanc, who was legally blind, had last been seen on November 17th at the Trent University Symons Campus, where he had been living. 

The search began for the 24-year-old psychology major on Friday November 20th, when he was reported missing to the Peterborough Police Service. The next day, the police, alongside members of Trent Security completed a ground search of the campus. 

Community Mourns Brett LeBlanc
Brett LeBlanc

On Sunday, Brett’s friends and family, alongside community members, participated in a public search of the Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary. Sunday’s snowfall made the search efforts even more difficult,  covering potential clues and negatively impacting the canine search unit’s effectiveness. 

The University published a statement from President Leo Groarke on Monday evening. 

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Brett’s death. The entire Trent community had pulled together in thought and action in the hopes that he would be found safe. Our deepest sympathies are with Brett’s family and friends. We will be guided by the family around commemoration, and I urge anyone who needs support to reach out to the resources we have available.”

The statement mentions that the flag atop Bata Library has been lowered to half-mast in honour of Brett. It also outlines some of the university and community resources available to students, faculty, and staff in need of support. 

Carl Cruise-Baxter, Brett’s friend and former roommate, remembers him as someone who “never complained even when life gave him lots to complain about, never hesitated to offer me support, guidance, and love whenever I needed it.”

Brett LeBlanc is also remembered affectionately by the sledge hockey community, where he was known as one of the only players in the province who was blind. His father, Mike, would be at every game, guiding him from the bench. 

Kevin Rempel, a Canadian paralympic bronze-medalist in Sledge Hockey, posted a video to Facebook, addressing Brett directly, saying “I can’t tell you how many times I have told people about your story, about you, your determination, your perseverance… You are dearly going to be missed.” 

A few hours after Brett LeBlanc was found, his mother, Cheryl Chappell Leblanc, posted the following statement to her Facebook page: “Our family would like to thank all the many prayers and shares and the search help… Brett has been found and at this time we would ask you to respect our privacy… Thank you once more.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to offset the expenses of Brett’s funeral.

The University has not published any information about a potential memorial service for Brett, but Arthur will publish that information when it becomes available.

Lady Eaton College and Forensic Science Society
ReFrame 2021
Teaching Awards by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Trent
Arthur News School of Fish
Sponsored
Lady Eaton College and Forensic Science Society
ReFrame 2021
Teaching Awards by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Trent
Arthur News School of Fish

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