Missing Montreal boy captured on surveillance camera on morning he disappeared
Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou was last seen in Ahuntsic-Cartierville on Monday afternoon
The 10-year-old boy, who vanished Monday after leaving home in Montreal's north end to meet a friend, was captured by a garage surveillance camera walking alone the morning he disappeared.
An Amber Alert was issued for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou on Tuesday afternoon, but was later lifted when police determined his case didn't meet the criteria to keep the emergency measure in place.
Ariel has been missing since Monday afternoon after getting his parents' permission to walk to a friend's house nearby. His school was closed that day.
The boy's father, Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou, said he saw the surveillance video for the first time today.
Kouakou spotted his son on the surveillance video walking by the front of the Gouin Boulevard garage, located about 50 metres from his destination, at 11:15 a.m. ET on Monday.
"It gives me hope in the sense that to see him alive, that's a new element for me because before now we had no indication," he said.
The garage owner said he told police about the video on Monday.
Police have not released it, but the garage allowed media to view the footage.
Officers are now canvassing the area and surrounding neighbourhoods for Ariel, said Montreal police Insp. André Durocher.
Police on horses and first responders are also searching the snowy riverbank of Parc des Bateliers, which borders the Rivière des Prairies and where Ariel was last spotted around 2 p.m. ET on Monday.
"Nothing is impossible. We can't exclude anything," Durocher said. "The worst thing we could do is to exclude any possibility."
Police are asking anyone with information about Ariel's disappearance to come to their temporary command post set up outside police Station 10 at 11756 O'Brien Boulevard.
Kouakou said he didn't believe Ariel would go near the river.
"We never went near the water — I know my son," he said.
"Maybe he would have gone near the water if it was something we usually did. He is a soccer kid. He would go see his friend to play soccer. He was going to see his friend, and when he left home, he did not say he was going near the water."
Here are details about Ariel, who speaks French:
- About four-foot-seven, weighing 88 pounds.
- Dark hair and dark eyes.
- Was last seen wearing a black coat with a hood, grey pants and yellow shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact 911.
Police are also asking residents of Cartierville to check their backyards, garages and sheds, or anywhere a child could be hiding.
Alert was an 'exceptional measure'
Amber Alerts are usually issued only when specific criteria are met: a child is under 18, is believed to have been abducted and be in imminent danger, and when police have information that might help locate them.
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."
The Amber Alert led police to find a woman who spoke to Ariel near Parc des Bateliers, which is two minutes from his home. Durocher said the two communicated and that Ariel appeared to be sad.
The Missing Children's 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 don't hear about him this morning, and that's really, really false," she said.
With files from CBC's Lauren McCallum, Daybreak and Radio-Canada's Gravel le matin