The unexpected disappearance of Robert (Rob) John Weiss, 53, from his home at the Newmarket Inn has left his family and York Regional Police searching for answers.
“He’s not the type of person to disappear, he leads a quiet life and this is really uncharacteristic of him to not be in contact, particularly with my mom, who he speaks to normally every day,” sister Barb Bolduc said from her home in the Collingwood area.
“This is unnerving, particularly for my mother. She had just gotten back from a trip and tried to reach him, and no answer, no answer," Bolduc added. "My mom is in her late 80s and this is just absolutely dreadful for her. He's her baby, even at 53.”
Weiss, who has been living in a small, one-bedroom unit at the motel in the Yonge Street and Green Lane area for the past several years, was last in contact with his family on the phone on July 8.
On July 15, his mother tried to contact him but could not reach him.
Investigators from York police’s No. 1 district criminal investigations bureau have located video surveillance that shows Weiss going northbound through the Lowes Plaza in the Yonge Street and Old Yonge Street area of Holland Landing on July 12 at about 3:30 p.m.
Weiss is described as white male, about six feet tall, weighing 185 pounds, with short brown and grey hair, brown eyes, a scar on his chin, and has an unsteady walk. He was wearing a black T-shirt, light-coloured shorts, a cap and was carrying a backpack. Bolduc said he also wears prescription glasses.
Police set up a command post Friday at Yonge Street and Green Lane as officers conducted a ground search in that area. Investigators also appealed to business owners and residents in the area to check their properties.
The investigation is ongoing and detectives continue to follow up leads, but the command post was taken down Saturday, a York police spokesperson said.
Weiss, who grew up in the Markham-Unionville area, ran his own information technology business, RJW Information Services, until he retired about nine years ago after suffering a serious fall that left him with short-term memory loss, Bolduc said.
He liked living at the Yonge Street hotel and felt secure there, Bolduc said, adding Weiss has a good sense of that neighbourhood and doesn’t go anywhere beyond that immediate area, except to take public transit to Barrie to visit with his mother.
“Rob said they take care of him and his room. He liked the free muffins every morning at breakfast,” she said. “He said he was really comfortable there. And he likes the staff that work there, they became like family to him. He could cook in his room and would spend his days going for walks or being in the room on his computer.”
But as the days pass since Weiss was last seen, Bolduc said she and her family are becoming increasingly concerned for his health, well-being and safety. And the circumstances around his disappearance are troubling, Bolduc said.
“Rob liked to fish, but apparently his fishing rod is in his apartment, so we know he wasn’t going fishing,” she said. “That was one thing we thought, that maybe he went fishing and slipped, but that’s not the case. His cellphone and his wallet were also in his room, which is extremely uncharacteristic that he would leave without one or both, for that matter.
“This is the thing, we don’t know. Thinking outside the box, if it was hot and he looked like he was having trouble, did somebody offer him a ride?” Bolduc said. “As much as he’s lucid and physically and mentally capable, he does have a short-term memory issue.”Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police #1 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7141 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips or leave an anonymous tip online.