Xbox Gamer Brandon Crisp Died From Fall

Authorities say the runaway likely suffered fatal plunge from a tree.

Paul McDougall

November 10, 2008

2 Min Read
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Investigators eyeing the death of gamer Brandon Crisp say the 15-year-old mostly likely died after falling from a tree.

"The cause of death was determined through medical examination to be a result of injuries to the chest area that are consistent with a fall from a tree," said a statement released Saturday by local police.

Crisp's body was found Wednesday in an undisturbed condition by deer hunters in a wooded area several miles from his home. Police said they do not suspect foul play. There's speculation that Crisp had climbed a tree in order to orient himself.

Crisp had been missing for about three weeks from his house in Barrie, Ontario, a small Canadian city about 60 miles north of Toronto. Crisp bolted after a dispute with his parents over the amount of time he spent playing Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on his Microsoft Xbox.

"The investigation is continuing to determine the last moments and hours leading to Brandon's death," said Barrie police officials.

Crisp was "addicted" to playing online video games, particularly Call Of Duty 4, over Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service, according to reports. The game allows players to assume the character of a contemporary combat soldier.

The Center for Online Addiction estimates that between 5% and 10% of the population suffers from some form of Internet addiction. It defines the condition as "any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment."

Microsoft contributed $25,000 to a $50,000 reward fund for information on Crisp. Beyond the funds, Microsoft aided the search by turning over to police Crisp's Xbox Live account information. One theory that made the rounds was that Crisp had run off to join a "clan" of fellow gamers.

In releasing the information, a Microsoft spokesman told InformationWeek that the company "expedited" its standard privacy procedures.

The move came following the launch of an online petition, called "Project Red Tape," that asked the software maker to handover the youth's account data.

Microsoft's spokesman said the company began cooperating with police as soon as it was asked to do so, and was not influenced by the petition.

The petition appeared on a Web site that was established to help the search effort. It noted that Crisp was 5' 3", 100 pounds with dirty blond hair and green eyes. He was last seen alive on Oct. 13.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

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