Search for missing Ont. boy now a recovery effort, police say
Published Friday, December 27, 2013 8:46AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 27, 2013 12:58PM EST
The Ontario Provincial Police dive team packed up for the night Friday after searching for the body of a five-year-old boy in a frigid Ontario river.
Police believe Robbie Reiner of New Hamburg, Ont. fell through the ice and into the Nith River after wandering away from his home Thursday. The search will continue Saturday morning.
Police began the search in New Hamburg, a small town located about 25 kilometres west of Waterloo, after Reiner was reported missing Thursday evening. Hours later, police and fire officials said the search had turned into a recovery effort.
The child was reported missing by his parents shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, and it was not long before search crews spotted footsteps leading to a hole in the river.
Police also said footprints and some of his clothing was found near the edge of water.
"We found some articles of clothing that indicate the boy did go into the ice in the river and we’re currently searching the area for further signs of that," Insp. Mark Bullock of the Waterloo Regional Police Service told CTV Kitchener.
Given the length of time the boy has been missing, the situation "isn't looking very promising," Bullock said.
Reiner's aunt told CTV Kitchener that the child is non-verbal.
The search was halted Thursday night and resumed Friday morning at sunrise.
Police said a number of members of the community have asked to join the search, but officials are asking the public to stay away from the area as the ice on the river is very thin.
"We appreciate that offer, but right now it is just too dangerous for members of the public to come down to the river to assist us," said Sgt. Dave Reibel.
The Grand River Conservation Authority says it has been helping with the investigation by giving police information on the water flows and thickness of the ice.
“The ice is very variable on the river. Certain areas are quite thin, especially near the shoreline, but there can be pockets of very thin ice where it’s only about an inch thick or less,” said Cam Linwood, a spokesperson for the conservation authority.
Wilmot Township Mayor Les Armstrong told CTV Kitchener that the family is “wanting for nothing except their child back so it’s very frustrating that he’s not back yet.”
The parents of the young boy said they didn’t want to speak with media until they get some closure.
With files from CTV Kitchener