Missing 83-year-old man found dead at Claireville Conservation Area in Brampton

Chandulal Gandhi, 83, is seen in this photo. (Toronto Police Service)

The search for an 83-year-old man who has been missing since Tuesday has tragically ended after he has been found dead at Claireville Conservation Area in Brampton, Toronto police say.

Chandulal Gandhi was last seen around 5 p.m. in the area of Kipling and Steeles Avenue on Sept. 15.

Command posts were set up on Wednesday in an effort to search for the senior. The search was soon escalated to a level three search, which is the highest possible level.

On Saturday, Toronto police pleaded with the public to check their backyards and to look at any surveillance footage for a sign of Gandhi as temperatures continue to dip as we head into fall.

Sunday evening, Toronto police held a news conference and announced that Gandhi was found deceased at the conservation area, only a couple of kilometres away from his home.

“Mr. Gandhi was in a remote area, not accessible by people walking in the area and fortunately police were able to find Mr. Gandhi but unfortunately, as I said, [he was] deceased,” Supt. Ron Taverner said on Sunday.

Taverner described the area where Gandhi was found as remote and a place that could be easily overlooked.

“Unfortunately, the area he was found was in a very swampy area that would have not been very accessible to anybody walking by or even to see him,” Taverner said. “It just happened that we found some other evidence that linked us this afternoon to where he might be.”

An autopsy still has to be conducted but a coroner believes Gandhi likely died from exposure to the chilly weather, Taverner said.

“We were very aware of the conditions, the temperatures and what anyone would be facing that was out in the elements. And especially with the clothing he was wearing it would make it very difficult for people to get through that,” he said.

Police said there is no indication of foul play involved in Gandhi’s death.

Found close to home

Taverner said Toronto police worked with Peel Regional Police to search for Gandhi and ultimately it was a Toronto police officer who found him.

Gandhi’s travel route since he went missing is unknown but Taverner believes he probably walked to where his body was found.

“The distance from Mr. Gandhi’s home to where he was found, I would estimate maybe a couple of kilometres. So we assumed that he walked to that area, but again we’re not sure of that,” Taverner said.

Taverner said it was an exhaustive search with many resources but “unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we all wanted.”

“Particularly when elderly people go missing they can wander for literally miles and it makes it very difficult. The thing about this particular case was that we had very little, the way of sightings, which usually would happen with all the help we get from the media,” Taverner said.

Taverner added that Gandhi’s family was a huge help in looking for him and is grieving immensely over the loss of their loved one.

“When you get that kind of news, it's devastating [for] the family. They were totally engaged with helping with the search,” he said.