Searchers in 'race against time' for missing Manitoba boy Chase Martens

Searchers looking for a two-year-old boy who went missing from his property in rural Manitoba are in a "race against time," RCMP said on Wednesday.

Searchers, gathered to look for missing boy, sang Amazing Grace before heading out

Searchers looking for two-year-old boy who disappeared from his property in rural Manitoba are in a 'race against time,' RCMP said Wednesday 2:04
Chase Martens was last seen at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday at his rural home near Austin, Man. He is described as 2½ feet tall and 30 pounds with blue eyes and light brown hair. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, black splash pants, a red hat and boots that light up as he walks. (RCMP)
Searchers looking for a two-year-old boy who disappeared from his property in rural Manitoba are in a "race against time," RCMP said on Wednesday.

"We're obviously concerned," Manitoba RCMP spokesman Sgt. Bert Paquet told reporters near Austin, Man., where Chase Martens vanished Tuesday evening around 6 p.m.

He was last seen playing outside his home and then "he was just not there anymore," Paquet said.

The temperature in the area dropped to –12 C overnight while searchers combed the area for the boy, who is described as 2½ feet tall and 30 pounds with blue eyes and light brown hair.

He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, black splash pants, a red hat and boots that light up as he walks.

On Wednesday, the search area was widened as hundreds of people gathered to help, singing Amazing Grace before heading out.

RCMP are urging anyone travelling in the area of Highway 34 and Austin to be on the lookout for Chase and to contact their local police department if they notice anything "no matter how insignificant it may seem," said Paquet.

"We're looking for any tip that will bring Chase home — anything and everything out of the ordinary."

The focus is to find Chase alive and well. "It is a race against time," Paquet said, "but we're obviously not giving up hope."

Chase's mom, Destiny Turner, told CBC News the boy doesn't tend to wander off. She said he is often with one of the family dogs, but all of the animals are at home.

Volunteers and search crews comb an area near Austin, Man., for two-year-old Chase Martens. 0:40
RCMP officers, along with an RCMP canine unit and air unit, volunteers from the Austin Fire Department and the Winnipeg Police Service Air1 helicopter have been searching since Chase was reported missing.

More than 200 searchers were involved in efforts overnight to locate the boy and the search is continuing.

"We're doing absolutely everything we can at this point," Paquet said.

"The majority of the searchers are parents themselves and they're very determined to do absolutely everything they can to assist us."

Winnipeg's Bear Clan Patrol is also getting involved, sending four of its best trackers to join in the search.

"If they find a footprint or something like that they'll know what to look for. These guys are experts, they're bush guys, they'll know what to do," said James Favel who heads up the group, which usually conducts patrols and searches in Winnipeg's North End.

As soon as the group's members heard about the boy — and the overnight temperatures — they knew they had to help, Favel said.

Earlier on Wednesday the RCMP posted a tweet asking that no one else show up to volunteer because there were already enough searchers. Asked what people can do then to help, Paquet said simply: "Pray."

Austin is located about 120 kilometres west of Winnipeg, between Brandon and Portage la Prairie.

Searchers meet near Austin on Wednesday morning, to search for missing toddler Chase Martens. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)
Searchers walk in a line, combing a field as part of the search for Chase Martens. (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC)
A field near Austin, Man., is filled with vehicles on Wednesday morning as hundreds of people gathered to search for the missing toddler. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.