Police call off search in icy river for missing Montreal boy

Divers have found no sign of Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou in the frigid waters on Montreal's north shore over the last two days and the dive effort has now been halted.

Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, 10, was last seen March 12 in Ahuntsic-Cartierville

Montreal police had divers searching the river off des Bateliers Park in hopes of finding Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, but have now stopped their work. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Divers have ended their search for a 10-year-old Montreal boy in the icy Rivière des Prairies. 

Andrée-Anne Picard, a spokesperson for Montreal police, said divers found no sign of Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou over the last two days in the frigid waters separating Montreal and Laval.

The boy went missing March 12 from Ahuntsic-Cartierville after he left his home to meet a friend.

Picard said investigators will continue to seek information from the public.

"We're going to continue the patrol and try to find more information," she said Tuesday afternoon, but added that, so far, "we're doing all we can and we don't have results."

The boy's father, Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou, said he believes his son is alive and was abducted.

Kouakou said he won't give up on trying to find Ariel.

"I already see how difficult it is for my wife, how difficult it is for my children, how difficult it is for my little girl," he said. "If I give up, everything around me will crumble."

"I am doing everything to tap into the resources within me to hold on. It's difficult, but I don't have a choice. I truly do not have a choice."
Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, 10, went missing after he left his home to meet a friend. Police say they have received nearly 600 tips about his disappearance from the public. (Charles Contant/CBC)

In the week since Ariel was last seen in des Bateliers Park, police officers and volunteers have combed the neighbourhood and surrounding areas by foot, horseback, helicopter and boat. 

They have also gone door-to-door in hopes of finding clues to his whereabouts.

Montreal police divers also spent Monday submerged in the Rivière des Prairies looking for Ariel, focusing on the river's edge of the park.

After finding nothing in that area, the divers changed location, moving farther east along the banks of the river but had found nothing by the time the search was called off.

Reward boosted

There is also a $100,000 reward in place to elicit new, valuable information that leads to Ariel. 

Montrealers started to pledge money after the family initially offered $10,000 to anyone with information about their son's whereabouts.

Rodi Furniture owner Bruno Rodi put up $50,000 as an incentive "to find Ariel in good shape" and Montreal champion boxer Adonis Stevenson also donated $15,000.

Montreal police say they are considering all possible scenarios, and haven't ruled out kidnapping.

They are asking anyone with information about Ariel to contact 911.

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.
Police say they have so far received 594 tips from the public.
Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, 10, went missing last week. (Montreal police)