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Police concerned about rumours spreading in suspicious Smiths Falls, Ont. disappearances

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Police are warning about the spread of unverified rumours in the investigation into the suspicious disappearances of two men in Smiths Falls, Ont. and renewing a call for those with information to come forward.

In an OPP media release on Tuesday, police said the missing persons investigation into the disappearance of Lawrence Bertrim and Robbie Thomson remains active.

Bertrim was 42 when he was last seen on Sept. 30, 2022 in Smiths Falls.

34-year-old Robbie Thomson went missing sometime between Oct. 12 and 18 of this year.

There have been three missing persons investigations in Smiths Falls this year, including 34-year-old Steven Tate of Montague Township whose body was found dead on Highway 15 earlier this month. In an update on Tuesday afternoon, police said they believe Tate's death to be the result of a hit-and-run collision.

Investigators say they are concerned by rumours, misinformation and disinformation about the cases being spread in the town, about 72 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. Police say they cannot speculate on any potential connection between any cases.

"We continue to hear stories about disturbing details, but no one has come forward to investigators with any first-hand information. Rumours are not evidence and cannot be used in court," said OPP detective inspectors Jennifer Patton and Daniel Levert in the news release.

Police say unverified rumours can cause delays to the investigation.

"Public safety is our priority. These are individual investigations, however investigators from each case speak regularly with each other to make sure nothing is missed," said Jodi Empey, deputy chief of the Smiths Falls Police Service in the news release.

"Smiths Falls PS investigators continue to work diligently for the families and the community to find answers to these cases. Rumours don't help. If you know something, please call the tip lines or Crime Stoppers."

Police have set up dedicated tip lines on both cases to ensure information gets directly to detectives assigned to the missing person cases. Anyone with first-person information is being encouraged to call.

For Robbie Thomson: 1-855-677-4636

For Lawrence Bertrim: 1-844-677-9404

Those wanting to remain anonymous can contact Lanark County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or file an anonymous report on the Crime Stoppers website.

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