Father of missing 10-year-old wants to meet woman who might have seen him
Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018 5:07AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 20, 2018 6:08PM EDT
MONTREAL -- A man whose son has been missing for more than a week desperately wants to meet the woman who told Montreal police she saw a boy matching his description.
Frederic Kouakou says he and his wife have a right to speak to her if she is the last person to have seen 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou.
"We haven't met that woman yet and we would really like to so she can tell us what he was wearing, how he was," Kouakou told a news conference Tuesday outside a shopping mall Ariel used to frequent.
"She is the last person to have seen our son and we have the right to know what happened with her."
The boy left his home in the city's north end to visit a friend's house on March 12.
After an Amber Alert was issued a day later, the woman came forward and said she had seen him at a park not far from his home.
Kouakou also said his wife, Akouena Noella Bibie, is shattered by their son's disappearance.
"She's down, she's destroyed," said Kouakou, who also urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do whatever he can to help Ariel be found.
"She is destroyed."
Earlier on Tuesday, Montreal police divers stopped their search for the boy after a total of six dives in Riviere des Prairies over a day and a half.
They said the investigation will continue but that divers will return to the river only if they receive information they believe warrants further forays into the water.
The father again discounted the notion his son could have fallen into the river.
"Since the very beginning we've thought it was a kidnapping because we're convinced our son would never go near the water,' Kouakou said.
"And we have no evidence he went near the water...so we're still going with the theory of abduction."
He said video footage clearly shows Ariel walking to his friend's house.
Besides the diving, police have gone door to door in the neighbourhood and used horses, the canine unit, all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to search the area.
Police say they have received some 700 tips but that the trail is still cold.
"At this moment, no hypothesis is any more plausible than others," said spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant. "No tips have come forward to help investigators move on."
Meanwhile, a reward for information leading to the boy being found has climbed to $100,000 after a Montreal-area businessman contributed $50,000.