Community rallies to support family of Kaden Young as river search for child continues

Police have resumed the search for the body of three-year-old Kaden Young, who was ripped from his mother's arms by flood waters just before 1 a.m. Wednesday and swept down the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont.

Helicopter, canine units bolstered by boats for search along Grand River between Grand Valley and Fergus, Ont.

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

Ontario Provincial Police have resumed the search for the body of three-year-old Kaden Young, who was ripped from his mother's arms by flood waters just before 1 a.m. ET Wednesday and swept down the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont.

As Day 3 of searching got underway Friday, OPP emergency response teams and canine units were back searching for the boy along the 15-kilometre stretch of the Grand River between Grand Valley and Belwood Lake near Fergus.

Police said the marine unit will be searching the waters in a boat to get a different perspective from Thursday's search.

"Hopefully today we can find something. We're really trying our best to cover our ground," Const. Paul Nancekivell of Dufferin OPP said Friday.

Police said they are waiting for the fog to lift to put the helicopter back in the air for a third day.

As crews waited to get aloft, the boy's family began their own search along 10th Line, East Garafraxa.

Nancekivell said there were about 30 people out with the family as of Friday afternoon.

CBC News spoke to a family friend who said he was out helping because, "It's my buddy's kid. He'd do the same for me."

A family friend of Kaden Young's father said he was out searching Friday because "It's my buddy's kid. He'd do the same for me." (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

One man from Fergus said he doesn't know the family, but wanted to help and check out areas he knows well, as he frequently fishes near where the search is going on.

The boy's father was also seen out with search teams Thursday.

Close-knit community

Since the toddler went missing early Wednesday morning, the parents have been supported by family and the close-knit community of Grand Valley.

Young went missing in the river after his mother's van got caught in rising flood waters on the road near their home. As she tried to get him out of the van, the fast-moving water ripped the boy away and quickly down the river.

It's unlikely the boy survived, police say. 

The family's home was surrounded by vehicles Thursday as rescue workers continued to search. A small memorial was set up at the approximate spot where the family's van got caught in water that had crossed over the road.

Another one has been growing on a bridge above the river, with toys, candles and a rest in peace sign with the boy's photo.

A memorial for three-year-old Kaden Young has grown on a bridge near where the boy was pulled from his mothers arms and into the flooded Grand River. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Kelly Tovelle, Young's grandmother, said Thursday the family was too distraught to give interviews, but they wanted to express gratitude to those searching for her grandson.

"I just want to thank all the police officers, the firefighters, the search and rescue, the helicopters, all the volunteers who are searching. The whole community is very supportive and I just want to thank everyone," Tovelle told CBC News Thursday.

'Wrapping around the family'

Nancekivell said Thursday the force has received a number of offers of help from the community, from people bringing food for searchers to one man who offered the use of his boats to search the water.

"They say tragedy pulls people together. It obviously has," Nancekivell said. "They're really wrapping around the family to give support. That's the wonderful thing about small communities, that they do that sort of thing."

On Thursday afternoon, police located a shirt that belonged to Young and a booster seat near where the van had been located, at the bridge at County Road 109 and 10 Line.

Nancekivell said police know Young was wearing a blue coat when he went into the water. It was unclear if he was wearing the shirt at the time, or if it had just been in the van. The van's door was open when rescuers arrived to pull the mother out of the river, he noted.

A helicopter searched a stretch of almost 15 kilometres Thursday, Feb. 22 as fire and police crews looked for for the body of three-year-old Kaden Young. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Nancekivell said police have yet to speak with the boy's mother to find out exactly what happened on the early morning hours of Wednesday. He said there was a barricade up to indicate the road had been closed for flooding at the time. The van has been taken in to a mechanic to have it checked for defects.

In the meantime, he said while police appreciate the offers of help, for now they do not need volunteers to help the search effort.


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