As the search continues for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, volunteers have been coming from far and wide to offer a helping hand.
Dozens have shown up at the police mobile command center in the parking lot of the Bordelais restaurant on Gouin in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal.
“It could be our kid, so we keep looking and hoping,” said Sophie Lambert, who lives in the area.
A group of volunteers from Sun Youth were going door-to-door, handing out flyers with the boy’s face on them.
“We’re seeing if people know something, if they’ve seen him, if they can check their backyard or any place he could be hidden,” said Justine Tuffelli, a Sun Youth volunteer.
Lambert was taking a walk along the river like many others have, looking for any trace of Ariel.
“We keep looking and hoping and not giving up. If it was mine, I wouldn’t give up,” she told Global News.
Danny Caci brought his drone to search from up above.
“If it happened to me, I’m sure other Montrealers would do the same,” he said.
Another group did door-to-door at the apartment complex where the boy had tried to go see a friend. They thought he was inside the building somewhere, possibly being held against his will.
“Our main focus is to gather information, and help the police,” said Natalie Dessalines. People she was with were wiping the snow off car windows and looking inside.
Police now say they don’t need any more help at their mobile command center.
“We’re thankful for all the volunteers here,” said police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant. “But at this time, we don’t need them here. We need them to look around their house, their sector and share the picture.”
Ariel Jeffrey’s father was touched by the outpouring of support.
“Thank you to the population,” Frederic Kouakou said.
As he continues to remain hopeful, the volunteers do too.
“That’s our job as parents, as human beings,” said Lambert. “We have to keep looking.”