Keep your eye on the ball

The last time she saw her husband, he was “stepping out for a smoke”. Two weeks later, Sandra Irving, 39, now knows that her husband had more than tobacco on his mind. The two had been sitting in the waiting area of an outpatient vasectomy clinic, Snip N’ Go, in a strip mall near their suburban home in Oshawa , ON, when Jack Burrows, 40, announced that he was going to buy some cigarettes and have a smoke outside while he waited. The time is estimated at being roughly 1 pm.

“I’ve been trying to get him to quit for years,” Ms. Irving said, “So I wasn’t happy about it. I told him to hurry up, I think.”

Mr. Burrows’ appointment was in fact scheduled for 1:15. His failure to return was not immediately remarked upon as his name was not called for his procedure until 2 pm. Ms. Irving had failed to notice his absence as she was engrossed in a back issue of House and Home.

“It was the Clutter Buster issue,” Ms. Irving explained, “So I didn’t notice right away. When they called his name I thought he’d come in but there was no sign of him. I stepped outside and he wasn’t there. I walked over to the little convenience store just down the way and he wasn’t there either. I was on my way back when I noticed the minivan was gone.”

The couple’s blue Astro minivan was no longer parked in the parking lot. Resting in the spot where it had been were the child booster seat and the infant car seat which had previously been secured in the van. Through evidence pieced together from security cameras at the mall, it appears that Mr. Burrows did indeed buy his cigarettes and at the same time he appeared to pick up a men’s magazine, Boyo. He then stepped outside and smoked a cigarette and flipped through the magazine. Suddenly, he threw down the cigarette, stuffed the magazine into his back pocket and strode off. Cameras lost sight of him briefly but he is later seen filling up the minivan in a gas station a few kilometres down the road.

His trail goes cold until two days later when news footage of a WWE wrestling match tailgate party in Buffalo NY shows a crowd of men and boys dancing around the smoking ruins of what appears to be the remnant of a burned-out minivan in the stadium parking lot. One of the shirtless men has his face painted crimson and blue and bears a remarkable resemblance to Mr. Burrows. Subsequent investigation has revealed the minivan to be the one Mr. Burrows left in but there is no further sign of him.

“If he was going to leave why did he have to set the minivan on fire?” Ms. Irving asked. “Shrek 2 was still in the DVD player and that’s the kids’ favourite. They’re going to be devastated.”