After failing to locate Brandon Crisp despite more than a week of intensive searching, police are reportedly focusing their investigation on the missing gamer's Xbox Live account.
This morning's Toronto Star reports that the cyber crimes unit of the Ontario Provincial Police will attempt to identify members of Brandon's Xbox Live Call of Duty 4 clan. Barrie P.D. spokesman Sgt. Dave Goodbrand told the Sun that Microsoft has agreed to breach its normal privacy protocols in the hunt for the missing 15-year-old:
Brandon's dad made a plea to Microsoft. This is an exigent circumstance, where it's a kid you're searching for. This isn't the same as other criminal investigations, where you're looking for evidence... [Brandon] was getting good enough that there's a possibility he was expanding into other clans.
In related news, GamePolitics spoke with Sgt. Goodbrand last night and learned that police are not releasing Brandon's Xbox Live gamertag. While the gamertag would give concerned gamers a starting point from which they could explore online resources in the search for Brandon, law enforcement officials fear that the information may be misused. There could also be important investigative reasons. It is not unusual for certain pieces of information to be withheld from the public in major cases.
How might gamers help? Although the circumstances are much different - and infinitely more serious - in Brandon's case, here's one example: Crime File: Global Gamer Community Tracks Down Xbox Live Thieves.