North Bay, Ont. is a small, quiet town with a shoreline nestled along the northeastern part of Lake Nipissing. But W5 reporter Genevieve Beauchemin, W5 Producer Eric Szeto and W5 Director of Photography Jerry Vienneau spent their first days there wriggling through a dark, damp and dirty crawlspace. They were looking for evidence, 11 years after Luke Joly-Durocher vanished.
Beauchemin, Szeto and Vienneau met private investigator Ellen White and Luke’s dad, Rob Joly, in the multi-unit residential building where Luke planned to stay with friends the night he went missing.
While it’s still not known what happened to Luke, tipsters who White spoke to believe he was a victim of foul play. They also believe Luke’s body may have been taken to this building.
With flashlights in hand, they squirmed through the crawlspace and wiped away spider webs and dust in the hopes of finding key evidence left behind: a blanket, Luke’s bag and Luke’s distinctive purple belt.
They peered through the dark, shined flashlights into crevasses and examined stains on the walls. It was Rob’s first time in the building since his son went missing.
Joly and White’s unlikely partnership began in 2020, when Rob attended one of Ellen White’s missing persons events.
“Rob came to meet us, complete with a poster board with all of the stories about Luke, and he shared with us some of the things he had done to try to find his son,” Ellen told W5. “And they were above and beyond… Rob really touched our hearts when he talked about hiring a tracking dog and walking down the streets of North Bay himself, trying to pick up a trace of his missing son.”
Rob says the two teamed up just as the case was getting cold.
“I think everything happens for a reason. And for Ellen to come into the picture was a tremendous help to us. She was a godsend… I just said you know what? I’m going to open up to you and I’m going to tell you my story,” he told W5.