The parents of a 10-year-old boy who disappeared in March are ramping up efforts to find him nearly two months after he went missing.
Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou was last seen in his neighbourhood of Ahuntsic-Cartierville on March 12.
While Montreal police say they believe that Ariel may have accidentally drowned in the icy waters of Rivière des Prairies, the boy’s father said he believes his son is alive.
“Our hope is based on the fact that no news is good news,” said Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou.
“There is no clue that our son has been to the river so if there is no clue there for us, our son is somewhere and one day someone will see him with the person that’s been keeping him so this keeps us more in hope than despair.”
In the weeks that followed, there was an intense search by land, air and water to find him. Police, family and volunteers canvassed the area in hopes of finding any signs of Ariel.
In a joint effort, the family and the Missing Children’s Network have installed giant billboards with Ariel’s face on them near the area where he was last seen. They urge anyone with information about his disappearance to contact police or the network.
“Even after two months, it is possible for people to communicate information, it is possible to solve this case and we would love nothing more than to give the gift of closure to this family and find Ariel,” said Pina Arcamone, the director general of the Missing Children’s Network.
The borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville is also helping with renewed search efforts. It plans to post flyers in municipal buildings such as arenas and libraries, and has created 1,000 lapel pins featuring Ariel’s picture for his family to hand out.
The family will be holding a vigil this Saturday to mark the two-month anniversary of Ariel’s disappearance.
— with files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press