8-year-old found nearly 1 km away after slipping away from Yellowknife day camp
'They all told me, ‘Someone picked him up.’ I said, ‘No, nobody picked him up'
Elizabeth Cowell and Rhonda Miller are calling for changes after an incident that's left them deeply disappointed in the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club.
Cowell's eight-year-old son Christopher was attending the club's summer day camp at the Yellowknife multiplex on Tuesday.
When Miller, Cowell's cousin, went to pick him up at 5 p.m., she was told by the camp's staff that he was in another room. When she couldn't find him there, she asked the staff again. This time, she was given a different answer.
"They all told me, 'Someone picked him up.' I said, 'No, nobody picked him up. There's only one arrangement for him to come home,'" Miller said.
"They couldn't tell me when was the last time they had seen him that day. The person in charge of his group, the teenager, said, 'Oh I saw him at 1 o'clock this afternoon.' Well, two kids just told me they saw him at 5 o'clock. So between 1 and 5 p.m. they had no idea where he was."
Afraid to cross the street
After a half hour of searching the building and the surrounding area, the RCMP were called. They found Christopher more than a kilometre away, on Old Airport Road by Staples.
Miller says he was trying to walk to his home but was afraid to cross the street to his house. Instead, he ended up walking to the other side of town.
In a written statement, the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club said its staff are trained to take attendance several times a day and that it's "taking this situation very seriously."
"There was an immediate meeting of staff that took place yesterday evening. Our policies and procedures were reviewed and updated," the statement said.
Cowell has removed Christopher from the day camp and is awaiting a refund.
Both she and Miller hope changes are made to ensure this doesn't happen again.