HAMILTON – A massive search for a southern Ontario man who vanished more than a week ago came to a grim conclusion Tuesday when police announced his body had been found.
Hamilton police Chief Glenn De Caire broke the news of Tim Bosma’s death “with a heavy heart,” he said.
Police are convinced human remains they found are Bosma’s, he said in a morning news conference.
“The evidence indicates that the remains have been burned,” he added.
Bosma, 32, never returned after going on a test drive with two men in his black Dodge Ram pickup truck, which he had posted for sale online.
Scores of police officers had been following up on hundreds of tips in the hopes of finding the married father after he disappeared last Monday.
The case also captured public attention, with many expressing concerns for his safety on social media.
A Facebook page in his honour was flooded with condolences Tuesday as the sombre news spread.
“The agony in this house is indescribable. There will be no further updates from this page. My prayers are with this wonderful family,” wrote Peter Lowe, a Bosma family friend who has been acting as their spokesman.
Police have arrested one suspect, 27-year-old Dellen Millard, and are seeking a second man, who has not been identified.
Millard is charged with forcible confinement and theft over $5,000 — charges his lawyer says he intends to fight.
De Caire said officers are scouring several locations linked to Millard and have seized some evidence, but he would not elaborate.
On Monday, investigators were examining the Region of Waterloo International Airport, where Millard’s family owns a hangar.
They also planned to search a trailer they said belongs to the suspect after spotting a black pickup inside, but couldn’t confirm whether the truck is Bosma’s.
The family has a storied aviation history in the region. When Millard was 14 he became the youngest Canadian to fly solo in both an airplane and a helicopter. His grandfather, Carl Millard, was at the time the oldest commercial pilot at 85 years old.
Wayne Millard, Dellen’s father, was also a pilot and died in December. Dellen Millard wrote his father’s obituary.
“His hope was for a time when co-operation would be the norm and competition was only friendly,” Millard wrote of his father.
“He would answer a question with a story. He stepped carefully while advocating carefreeness. He could read and write five languages. He was patient and stubborn. He admired Christ, Gandhi and Lindbergh.”
Wayne Millard defined himself by the responsibilities of being a pilot, wrote his son, who added that he now carries his father’s pilot’s licence in his wallet.
“Piloting wasn’t just his job, it was his freedom,” Dellen Millard wrote. “He believed we can make a difference in the world. With Wayne in my heart, I believe we must.”
Police have asked that Bosma’s family be allowed to grieve in privacy. Both his wife and his mother had issued emotional pleas for his safe return.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who is from Hamilton, offered condolences to the family in the Ontario legislature Tuesday.
“I’d like to take an opportunity on behalf of Ontarians and members of the legislature to let the family of Tim Bosma know that we are grieving with them,” she said following the police chief’s announcement.
“His wife Charlene, his daughter, and his mother Mary and all his friends and family are grieving very much today, and I think it’s important that we say we’re grieving along with them.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also expressed his condolences to the victim’s family.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to Tim Bosma’s family during this difficult time,” he tweeted.