The family of a man found dead in the Rivière des Prairies last month says Montreal police failed in its investigation of their loved one’s disappearance.
Courage Agbezorlie, known by family and friends as Kobie, was a young pastor living in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
He disappeared in March along with friend Sandra Mensah after reportedly going to the pharmacy to buy an Opus transit card for his younger brother, who was staying with him for the week.
Tracy Gyemfie is still reeling from the loss of her son.
“This is a very tough moment for us,” she told CBC News.
Both Agbezorlie and Mensah’s families called police the day after their disappearance, who set up a command post in the neighbourhood to try to find information on the pair.
Police found the car Agbezorlie and Mensah were last seen next to nearby Raimbault Park within a few days of the disappearance.
But that’s when the investigation ground to a halt, the families say.
Investigator went on vacation
Gyemfie said investigators told them they suspected Agbezorlie and Mensah were in the river, but would not send divers into the icy waters to search.
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“I said, ‘If they are in the water, why don’t you find your divers to go and dive inside the water and find them for us to get closure?’” she recounted.
“They say that it’s a bit cold, we need to let the weather warm up a little bit. They kept on saying that over and over,” Gyemfie continued.
Then, she said, the detective who was working on the case went on vacation for three weeks, pausing the investigation.
The family said police only offered to send in divers after Agbezorlie’s body turned up on the shores of the Rivière des Prairies on May 6.
Far too late, said Agbezorlie’s sister Christine Enchill.
"If they think they were there … how long did it take them? It took what, three months?" she said.
Now Agbezorlie's family is worried police won't do enough to find Mensah.
Swift action, police say
Montreal Police told CBC they've spared no efforts finding the pair.
They said it would have been too cold to send divers in during the winter, and the vast area of the river posed a problem.
"We don't have a precise perimeter for the search that's opened. We have the Rivière des Prairies — that's a very large perimeter you'll understand, and at this point doing searches underwater would not help us much," said Montreal Police spokesman Sgt. Laurent Gingras.
Gingras said investigators continue to look for Sandra Mensah, who remains on the missing persons list.