Caribana music festival in Toronto, Canada. On Sunday, August 2, 1999 Rashad and six of his buddies went to a bar on Polson Street. Friends later told the family that Rashad was shouting and acting strangely. "At one point he began running backwards" and a car bumped into him. Rashad was last seen running from his friends outside the bar on Polson Street.
His body was recovered ten days later in the Toronto Harbor.
About Rashad Burnley
According to Rashad's family, he was a social drinker only and was popular, outgoing and smart. The family said there was no reason for him to disappear.
Rashad is the only child of the Reverend Lawrence "Larry" Burnley, former Associate Minister at the Christian Association (1991-1993) and Director of Greenfield Intercultural Center (1993-1996). Mr. Burnley had served as an executive for the Racial and Ethnic Constituency Education and Deveopment Board for the United Church Board for World Ministries.
Search and Recovery
The Toronto Marine Unit divers searched the Polson Street Slip where Rashad was last seen by his friends as he went running from them.
Police divers searched Lake Ontario while Rashad's family and volunteers continued their own search moving to the near by beach and woods. His family believed he was still alive, and at worst, merely injured.
Rashad Brunley's body was recovered ten days later after being spotted by a jogger in the Toronto Harbor.
A memorial service was held on August 23, 1999. The Rev. Larry Burnley recieved condolences at his address in New Rochelle, NY.
Rashad's father later stated his son died as a result of a drowning accident in Toronto, Ontario. On April 14, 2000, the family gathered to celebrate what would have been Rashad's 21st birthday. His father said Rashad loved God and had demonstrated passion for helping people. He believes his son is an angel watching over his family.
A college scholarship was set up in Burnley's name at Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Rashad Burnley, 20
College: Wooster College, Wooster, OH
Hometown: Shaker Heights, OH
Last Seen: 8/2/99, Polson Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Recovered: 8/12/99, Toronto Harbor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada