River search for missing boy ends

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL–The father of a 10-year-old boy who went missing three weeks ago said yesterday he’s relieved police called off further searches in the frigid waters along Montreal’s north shore.
Frederic Kouakou told reporters he never believed the police’s theory his son fell into the water.
The father maintains his child was abducted.
“It gives me more hope,” Kouakou said in reaction to yesterday’s decision by city police to end searches in the Riviere des Prairies.
“We are humans, we are made of flesh but also of spirit,” the father said.
“On a spiritual level, I am happy the Montreal police are calling off river searches so we can have all of our energy focused in the same direction . . . towards the theory of abduction.”
Insp. Ian Lafreniere said yesterday that police will continue land searches and still are encouraging the public to come forward with any information on the whereabouts of Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou.
He said melting ice along the river is contributing to stronger currents and making the water search too dangerous.
“We did a lot of searches Friday and Saturday on the river,” Lafreniere noted during an interview.
“A lot of energy was put in and we had a lot of hope, but unfortunately it didn’t work.”
Police continue to believe the boy accidentally fell into the river because they claim a witness put Kouakou in a park near the water before he went missing and there are no images of him leaving the area.
“We have video surveillance, we have a credible witness who spoke with [Ariel] at 11:25 [a.m.]” at the park near the river, Lafreniere said.
But Frederic Kouakou refuses to believe that theory.
“For us, our son is still alive,” he said.

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