Ottawa, Ontario — On Oct. 10, 2009, a Saturday story in the Ottawa Citizen told readers that the 14-year-old had never before stayed away from home overnight. They were asked to keep an eye out for the slim, caucasian teenager with light brown hair and brown eyes, last seen by a friend Thursday night before they parted ways on Côté Street near St. Laurent Boulevard.
"Justin told the friend around 10 p.m. that he planned to stay out late, or perhaps all night. He did not say why," the report reads. It was the first unanswered question in a case that would generate countless others.
Though it began with an all-too-familiar story – a young person is reported missing, police ask the public for leads, loved ones pray they're located safely – the mystery of Justin's disappearance has deepened and darkened with the passage of time.
The cold case is now more than a decade old, and the narrative surrounding his disappearance has shifted. Every possible theory about what happened to the 14-year-old has disturbing implications. His family has been devastated, and his mother left to question her son's fate, and how his case was handled.
Ottawa Police is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information confirming the current whereabouts of Justin Rutter or leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for his disappearance.