Montreal police are using a different strategy in hopes of finding a 10-year-old boy who went missing from Ahuntsic-Cartierville on Monday and was the subject of an Amber Alert until it was lifted late the next day.
Officers are now canvassing the area and surrounding neighbourhoods in search of Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, said Insp. André Durocher.
Police on horses and first responders are also searching the Parc des Bateliers, which borders the Rivière des Prairies and where Ariel may have been spotted Tuesday afternoon.
Police drop Amber Alert as ten-year-old boy remains missing
“Nothing is impossible. We cant exclude anything,” Durocher said. “The worst thing we could do is to exclude any possibility.”
Ariel was last seen when he left home to meet a friend around noon Monday.
Police say the case did not meet all the criteria to extend the Amber Alert issued Tuesday afternoon.
Police are also asking anyone with information about Ariels disappearance to come to their temporary command post set up outside police Station 10 at 11756 OBrien Boulevard.
Amber Alerts are usually issued only when a child has gone missing, is believed to have been abducted and be in danger, and when police have information that might help locate them.
Montreal police say the search for a missing 10-year-old Montreal boy is ongoing, even as an Amber Alert was lifted late Tuesday.
This is the first time the Montreal police have issued an alert without meeting those conditions.
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.”
“Was it the most appropriate measure? Listen, thats not our worry for the moment,” he said. “Our preoccupation is to find the young boy.”
Montreal police have been searching Ahuntsic-Cartierville for Ariel. (Charles Contant/CBC)
The Amber Alert led police to speak to a woman who reportedly saw Ariel near Parc des Bateliers, which is two minutes from his home, but Durocher said the investigation continues.
"At 2 p.m. Monday, a lady might have seen the missing person in a park which is close to his home and his friend's home. It makes sense because he left home at 12:30 … and the park is right in the middle" Insp. Ian Lafreniere said.
The Missing Childrens Network, a non-profit group that assists with such cases, became involved Tuesday morning with the Amber Alert.
Executive director Pina Arcamone said police made the right move to launch the alert, but it was wrong to lift it because it is confusing to the public.
“The last thing we would want is for the public to think that Ariel was found and this is the reason we dont hear about him this morning, and thats really, really false,” she said.
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Montreal police cancelled a Quebec-wide Amber Alert in the case of a missing 10-year-old boy late Tuesday, but the search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou was continuing.
Police said they made the decision to lift the alert at about 11 p.m. because the criteria to maintain it was no longer being met.
A statement posted on Twitter by police urged people to “stay vigilant and report any information regarding Ariel to 911.”
The Amber Alert was initially issued despite the absence of the criteria usually required for one.
“Normally, for the triggering of an Amber Alert, there is the description of a kidnapper, the description of a vanishing vehicle, information that we do not have in this case,” Sgt. Laurent Gingras said.
“But we do have the fact that, since its 24 hours, since hes only 10 years old and since we dont have any historical reports of him missing and the fact its winter and pretty cold, thats why investigators from the Montreal police decided to issue an Amber Alert.”
“We do not know at this point if a criminal hand is involved or not,” he said. “We cannot exclude that hypothesis — but were not putting it forward either at this point.”
The boy left his home in the citys Ahuntsic-Cartierville around noon Monday to go to a friends house, but has not been seen since. Members of his family reported him missing later in the afternoon.
Police have been speaking with a woman who had told a passerby she saw a boy who matched the boys description.
“At 2 p.m. Monday, a lady might have seen the missing person in a park which is close to his home and his friends home,” Insp. Ian Lafreniere said. “It makes sense because he left home at 12:30 … and the park is right in the middle.
Kouakous parents say the boy was headed to the friends house before he went missing.
His father, Frederic Kouakou, told Radio-Canada that as far as he can remember, “its the first time he went on his own to his friends house.”
“He had asked permission from his mother,” he said. “(Monday) was a pedagogical day. When he got to his friends house the friend wasnt there, he was at daycare. There was a lack of co-ordination. Thats all we know.”
Police say the boy, who is French-speaking, is black, has black hair and black eyes and was wearing a black coat with a hood, grey pants and yellow shoes before he disappeared.
Authorities urged residents to scour their neighbourhood for any signs of the boy.
“We need citizens to please look around — look around your yard, your garage, look at possible locations where a 10-year-old kid could be hiding because of the weather,” Lafreniere added.