As GamePolitics reported on Monday, Brandon Crisp, a 15-year-old Canadian gamer, went missing more than a week ago and has not been located.
According to this morning's Toronto Star, Brandon's parents have expressed to police that they believe his disappearance may be related to what they term an "addiction" to the popular, online-playable FPS Call of Duty 4. Brandon's father, Steve Crisp is quoted as saying:
I'm worried he has met someone online through this game. It could be organized crime or someone involved in Internet gambling. Pedophiles can stalk kids through these games.
While it is certainly true that there are documented cases of sexual predators using online video games to locate young victims, Steve Crisp's speculation regarding organized crime or Internet gambling seems a bit far-fetched. Perhaps understandable, though, given the stress which he is under. Certainly, one would expect that the local police are working with Xbox Live to examine any messages between Brandon and other players. They are probably examining his PC as well.
Also unclear is the exact CoD game that Brandon was supposedly addicted to. The Star report includes these passages:
[Brandon] left home following a dispute with his parents over the Xbox online war game, Call of Duty 4, which he spent countless hours and days playing over the last 18 months...
"He has a good heart," Steve said of his son, who was a straight-A student until his obsession with gaming started in 2006. The boy purchased Call of Duty with Christmas money and Steve subscribed to Xbox online at his son's urging.
Call of Duty 4, however, was not released until November 5 of last year. Previous games in the series were released for Xbox 360, so, given the stressful circumstances, it's an understandable mistatement.
Anyone with information on Brandon's whereabouts is urged to contact the Barrie Police Department. A Facebook group, Where is Brandon Crisp? has over 5,600 members so far.
GP: A reporter from the Globe and Mail asked me yesterday whether the gaming community, using online resources, might be helping in the search for Brandon. It's very possible.
What do you think, GP readers? How would you look for Brandon?