Search for 3-year-old boy swept away by Grand River flood extends to Monday

The search for a three-year-old boy who was swept away in the floodwaters of the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., has been extended to Monday.

A police helicopter is expected to join other search teams on Sunday

Kaden Young, 3, has been missing since he was pulled from his mother's arms and swept into the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., early Wednesday morning. (Submitted by the Young family)

The search for a three-year-old boy who was swept away in the floodwaters of the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., has been extended to Monday, Ontario Provincial Police Const. Paul Nancekivell says.

On Sunday, OPP's emergency response team returned to the area to search the ground for Kaden Young with the force's canine unit. 

The OPP's dive team also returned to search the water that overtook the minivan the boy was riding in.

There will be civilian volunteers on hand to assist with the search. 

"Yesterday, it was 200. I expect there will be at least 100 today if not more," Nancekivell told CBC News. 
A memorial for Kaden has formed on a bridge overlooking the Grand River. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

A helicopter is expected to join Sunday's search in the afternoon. 

"Our guys are going out, and people are very, very determined in that community to find that boy. They're not giving up," Nancekivell said.

Police are now considering the search for Kaden a recovery mission, adding that it's unlikely the child survived given the conditions. 

Conditions improving

The river's water level has dropped significantly since the boy went missing early last Wednesday morning and the current has slowed down, which police hope will aid the search. 

"The level has dropped probably about 13 feet or so over since Wednesday, and with each time it's dropping there's more shoreline exposed," Nancekivell added. "We're hoping that we're going to find the little boy." 

Police were concerned about freezing rain overnight hampering the search, but the weather has also improved. 
A helicopter searched a 15-kilometre stretch of the Grand River shoreline earlier this week but was not able to locate Kaden. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

"The sun is starting to come out now, so they have a good advantage of [there] being better weather."

The search is now focused on the area between Station Street Bridge and Bellwood Lake.

"It's 13 kilometres, so it's still a huge area," Nancekivell said. "The Grand River has several bends and curves in that part of the river, so we're not discounting anywhere."

Searching since Wednesday

Police said the boy's mother was driving on 10th Line in the Township of Amaranth when she drove past a road closure sign early Wednesday.

Police said it was foggy at the time, but they are not sure why the woman decided to go past the sign.

Since Wednesday, OPP emergency response teams and canine units have been searching for Kaden. 

On Thursday, police found a shirt that belonged to Kaden in the water close to where the van was recovered. 

Nancekevill said the shirt was "not clothing he wore," but it provided police an estimate as to how far his body may have travelled.

On Friday, about 30 people were out with the boy's family searching. The family began their own search along 10th Line in East Garafraxa.

Nancekevill said police have been updating the boy's parents through out the search.

"They're holding up. It's obviously very hard for them," he said. "We're in contact with them regularly throughout the day, giving them updates."