Saskatchewan

Focus is on Carrot River and its banks as search for missing 5-year-old Frank Young enters 3rd month

Searchers are now looking at a junction in the river known to trap debris.

Searchers looking at junction in river known to trap debris

Crews continue to search for five-year-old Frank Young near the Red Earth Cree Nation. (Red Earth Cree Nation/Facebook)

Members of the RCMP tactical unit and volunteers from Red Earth and Shoal Lake Cree Nations are focusing on the Carrot River as they continue to search for missing five-year-old Frank Young.

Young was last seen on April 19 playing outside the home where he lived with his aunt and uncle on the Red Earth Cree Nation, about 300 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Despite an extensive land, aerial and boat search of the community and surrounding area, the young boy has not been seen since that day.

Following the spring thaw, volunteers from local First Nations will again focus on the Carrot River, in particular a junction of the river about five kilometres downstream from Red Earth known to locals as the "Y."

The Carrot River originates in Wakaw Lake and flows northeast through Red Earth Plains into the Saskatchewan River near The Pas, Man. 

"There's a lot of log jams along the river and this is one of them," said Shoal Lake Cree Nation Chief Marcel Head.

"The knowledge keepers have always indicated that just by experience, these areas tend to catch any types of debris or items that float along the river, and that's where they wanted the search team to try and concentrate on."

Young's parents live on the Shoal Lake Cree Nation, which has been active in the search. 

Police and volunteers continue to search for five-year-old Frank Young in the area around Red Earth Cree Nation. (Google Maps)

Carrot River RCMP Sergeant Richard Tonge said police are also focusing on the banks of the Carrot River.

"Because the river has started to recede, Saskatchewan RCMP's tactical support group plan on traveling to the community this weekend to conduct a thorough, targeted search of the banks of the river. One of their goals will be to try and locate any items that may be associated to Frank," Tonge said.

He said police have used all of their resources to look for Young, including aircraft, boats and underwater recovery teams.

Unless new information comes in, there won't be additional air or boat searches, Tongue said.

The last aerial search was conducted by helicopter on June 11. The last police boat search for Young was June 18.

However, RCMP will continue looking for Young on foot and his case is active, Tonge said.

According to Red Earth Cree Nation Chief Fabian Head, local First Nations are stretched, as the search entered its 64th day Tuesday.

"Our local ATV, boats and motor equipment are starting to break down and need servicing," Head said.

On Tuesday an awareness walk was held near Young's Red Earth home to let people know the search for him continues.

Red Earth Cree Nation held an Awareness Walk for five-year-old Frank Young, who has been missing for two months. (Chief Fabian Head)

Both Fabian and Marcel Head said the provincial and federal governments also need to offer more support to pay for the increasing costs of looking for Young.

"The price of fuel has gone up significantly and it's pretty challenging to have to work within your old resources," Marcel Head said.

Red Earth's chief said 611 volunteers have covered 92 square kilometres in the search for Young so far.

Both chiefs said they continue to treat the search for Young as a rescue mission.

"I know the family is still very optimistic and hopeful that Frank will be found soon," Fabian Head said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colleen Silverthorn is a journalist for CBC in Regina. Colleen comes from the newspaper world, where she primarily covered politics and business. She has worked in Saskatoon, Regina and London, England. Story ideas? Email colleen.silverthorn@cbc.ca

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