Search continues for Shopify exec reported missing in Ottawa

Ottawa police continue to investigate the disappearance of a Shopify executive who went missing in Ottawa, and his family says they are not giving up hope.

Brett O'Grady, 35, was reported missing Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. He was last seen in the Avro Circle area in the east end. An extensive police search for the Shopify executive took place over the weekend with the help of volunteers.

However, Gord O'Grady, Brett O'Grady's father, told CTV Ottawa's Graham Richardson on Newstalk 580 CFRA on Monday afternoon that the police search was suspended Sunday night.

"The police suspended the search in the particular area in the woods near his home because they don't believe he is in this area any longer," he said. "So, they've suspended the search. They're continuing the investigation. Now we're relying more on media and the public to provide, hopefully, leads to find him."

Gord O'Grady told CTV News Ottawa on Sunday that the family is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to Brett being found. 

In a press release, Ottawa police described him as a Caucasian man, 5-foot-8 (173cm) tall, with a medium build, brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt with a purple wolf logo, dark jeans, and navy blue shoes. He was also believed to be riding a red and black Pure Fix bicycle.

O'Grady is the head of treasury and risk at Shopify. In a statement, a company spokesperson said they are hoping he will be found safe.

"We are deeply concerned to hear that Brett has been reported missing by his family and we are hopeful for his safe return. We are doing all we can to support in the search effort and urge anyone with information to please contact the Ottawa police," the spokesperson said.

Police said early Sunday afternoon that members of the emergency services unit were deployed Friday evening to aid in the search, after police received some investigative leads. The search was focused on a wooded area near the Aviation Parkway and the Ottawa River. 

'Just come home': Family and friends canvass the city

"We just need help from the community to see if anyone has seen him, if anyone has any leads," said Brett O'Grady's wife, Becky O'Grady.

Family and friends set up a command centre at O'Grady's home, and groups were sent out across the city to hand out flyers and pictures of the missing 35-year-old.

"So many people here, maybe up to 100 people here yesterday and again today, just getting directions from Mike on where to go," said Gord O'Grady. "They handed out 2,600 fliers yesterday and we're broadening it more east and west in and outside of the city."

O'Grady's family say they just want Brett to come home, "No questions asked."

"We're just lost as to why he would do this and where he could possibly be," said Gord O'Grady.

"We just want you to come home, we love you, everyone here loves you. Just come home," said Becky O'Grady.

Emergency responders were set up Sunday in the area of Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, Polaris Avenue, the Ottawa River and the Aviation Parkway. The police operation included water and shoreline searches and the use of a drone.

Gord O'Grady said on Monday the search over the weekend kicked off when a neighbour found Brett's bicycle in the woods on Friday.

"That was the starting point. The police could get the search teams mobilized, the emergency services unit, the dog teams and so on," he said. "They believe now, based on their experience and the area that they've searched in this neighbourhood, that they've done their exenstive search and they can't continue because the search area is too broad. What they need is another starting point. The bicycle was the starting point last Friday. Now, they need another lead."

Anyone with information about the current whereabouts of Brett O’Grady is asked to call the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222.

If you have information that could assist investigators, but do not know where he is currently, please contact the Missing Persons Unit 613-236-1222, ext. 2355, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca