As Canadian police planned an autopsy on a body found in rural Ontario believed to be that of missing teen Brandon Crisp, the community of Barrie was reeling form the loss of a boy who met a tragic fate.
"We wanted to see a happy ending, " Barrie Police Service Sgt. Dave Goodbrand told ABCNews.com today.
A deer hunter yesterday morning found the body of a young boy believed to be 15-year-old Crisp, who ran away from home more than three weeks ago after his parents took away the video game system they say he'd become addicted to.
Crisp's father, Steve Crisp, told ABC News yesterday that his son was dead and "it's over."
The focus at St. Joseph's High School in Barrie, where Crisp was a 10th-grader, was more about grieving than classes today as police officers and counselors worked with grieving students.
Diane Legg, director of communications for the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, said students were told of the discovery during an assembly yesterday.
"Today was even more difficult," she said. "The reality was setting in for the students."
Sergio, another 10th-grader at St. Joseph's, told the Toronto Star that he'd known Crisp since fourth grade.
"It's a shocking mood," Sergio told the Star. "Really, everyone expected that Brandon would come back."
Legg said many students stayed home today, especially those that were close to Crisp and his two sisters. For those that were there, the gym was opened up to give students a sports outlet and the library was open for reading or studying. The school chapel was also used by many to pray and reflect on Crisp's life, Legg said.
The school's morning prayer service was lengthened today and dedicated to Crisp, and students have been filling a book of condolences that will be given to the Crisp family.
"We hope that every day will lead us to getting back to normal," Legg said.
Goodbrand said police are still looking into whether Crisp's death was a homicide or the result of the teen being exposed to the cold Ontario fall weather. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow at the Center of Forensic Sciences in Toronto.
"You have to assume the worst and scale back from that," he said. "It's too early to rule out foul play."
The Ontario Provisional Police, which has jurisdiction over the area where the body was found, is now heading the investigation.
Provincial police Sgt. Pierre Chamberland told ABCNews.com today that dental records would be used to help identify the body during the autopsy, but that residents had no reason to fear for their safety.
"We don't have any suspicion of foul play," Chamberland said.
Crisp left home on Oct. 13 after his parents took away his beloved Xbox, and aside from two sightings by area residents that day, police had no leads on his whereabouts.
He apparently took off on a well-traveled trail on his bike, which was found later that day by a passerby. The bike wasn't turned over to police for several days until the person realized who belonged to.
The body was found several kilometers away from where the bike was found, "in a rural area that was both field and a wooded area," Goodbrand said.
Before the body's discovery, Microsoft Canada had chipped in $25,000 Canadian toward a reward for help finding Crisp. The Microsoft donation matched the $25,000 Canadian raised by local organizations. The reward totaled $41,776 in U.S. dollars.