The search continues for a 10-year-old boy missing from Montreal’s north end after a night of canvassing the snowy park where he was last seen.
Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou vanished Monday after leaving his home in Ahuntsic-Cartierville to meet a friend in the afternoon.
Montreal police and volunteers have returned to Parc des Bateliers, which borders on the Rivière des Prairies and is where Ariel was last seen Monday afternoon. A Quebec provincial police helicopter has also joined the search.
According to Montreal police Insp. André Durocher, a “very credible witness” told police she spoke with the child in the park sometime around 11 a.m. on Monday.
The boy’s father, Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou, is pleading with anyone who may have information about the disappearance to come forward.
“Say what you saw. It can make a difference,” he said. “Little details are important at this stage of the situation.”
Kouakou said he believes his son has been kidnapped and is asking for a second Amber Alert to be launched.
An Amber Alert was issued for Ariel Tuesday afternoon, but was later lifted when police determined his case didn’t meet the criteria to keep the emergency measure in place.
Montreal police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant said they are considering all possible scenarios, including abduction.
Community effort as search continues
A group of officers and about 30 volunteers also gathered late Wednesday night to search the area, but didn’t find any sign of the boy.
“At this moment, there is no further information concerning his whereabouts so we’re still investigating,” Montreal police Const. Raphaël Bergeron said.
While searching the neighbourhood, residents also plastered Ariel’s photo on telephone poles, lampposts and in local businesses.
Ariel was captured on surveillance video late Monday morning. The video shows him walking alone by the front of a Gouin Boulevard garage, located about 50 metres from his friend’s home.
Here are details about Ariel, who speaks French:
- About four-foot-seven, weighing 88 pounds.
- Dark hair and dark eyes.
- Was last seen wearing a black coat with a hood, grey pants and yellow shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact 911 or visit the police’s command post set up on Gouin Boulevard.
Police are also asking residents of Cartierville to check their backyards, garages and sheds, or anywhere a child could be hiding.
Boy was subject of Amber Alert
Amber Alerts are usually issued only when the following criteria are met: a child is under 18, is believed to have been abducted and be in imminent danger, and when police have information that might help locate them.
This was the first time Montreal police had issued an alert without meeting those conditions.
Insp. André Durocher said the alert was an “exceptional measure given that it was almost 24 hours since the boy disappeared and that we heard absolutely nothing.”
The Amber Alert led police to find a woman who spoke to Ariel near Parc des Bateliers, which is two minutes from his home. Durocher said the two communicated and that Ariel appeared to be sad.
With files from CBC’s Sarah Leavitt and Radio-Canada