Montreal deploys ice breaker in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Click to play video: 'Divers stop searching river for missing boy'
Divers stop searching river for missing boy
WATCH: Montreal police divers have stopped searching the water for 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou. As Dan Spector reports, they say the search is still ongoing but that divers will return to the river only if they receive information they believe warrants further diving – Mar 20, 2018

Montreal police called in a Hydro-Quebec ice breaker boat to help search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou on Wednesday.

The boat spent the day breaking ice near the shores of the Rivière des Prairies.

Police said the goals were to dislodge potential clues that may have been stuck in the ice, and to clear the way for divers to re-enter the water on Thursday.

The cavalry unit, a K9 unit, and the SQ helicopter also took part in searches on Wednesday.

Montreal police were also in the water searching for the 10-year-old on Tuesday, spending just over an hour searching by boat.

With warming temperatures melting some of the ice on the Rivière des Prairies, officers thought they might be able to find a new clue.

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Late last week, Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said the force`s top hypothesis is that the boy fell in the water.

Montreal police have had a mobile command post in Ahuntsic-Cartierville looking into 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou’s disappearance since the day after he went missing.

Discussions are ongoing within the police force about packing up their command post at Les Galeries Normandie and leaving.

“There’s an evaluation that’s done every day, we’re going day to day with this event,” said police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant.

Volunteers also have a sort of command post at the shopping mall, where they continue to dispatch search parties.

Volunteer coordinator Mary Grigoropoulos said Tuesday people have been showing up in smaller numbers.

“Yes, there is less people and this is what I don’t want to happen, is for Ariel to kind of fade away. We want to keep on talking about him, keep on looking,” she said.

Grigoropoulos is hoping a lot of people show up at the Galeries Normandie for a big search event on Saturday at 11am.

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A week ago, SWAT team divers stopped searching the water for the 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou.

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They say divers will return to the river only if they receive information they believe warrants further diving.

Police told Global News the strong current and ice blocking their way under the surface made it too dangerous to go on.

The boy hasn’t been seen since March 12 when he left his home in the city’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville district to visit a friend’s house.

Besides the diving, police have gonedoor-to-door in the neighbourhood and using horses, the canine unit, all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to search the area.

The boy’s father has said he believes his son was abducted and has asked police to restore an Amber Alert that was issued immediately after Ariel’s disappearance.

“We strongly believe that our son was kidnapped,” Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou told a press conference last week at the police command post at Les Galeries Normandie.

Ariel’s father also put out a plea to speak with the woman who last saw his son at the Parc des Bateliers on March 12.

WATCH: More than 100 people came out to show their support for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou’s family.

Click to play video: 'Candlelit vigil held for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou’s family, now desperate for help'
Candlelit vigil held for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou’s family, now desperate for help

“She is the last person to see our son, we want to know how he felt, how was was dressed, what she saw,” Kouakou said.

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READ MORE: Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou’s family hires private investigator to explore kidnapping theory

Montreal police Sgt. Manuel Couture said the divers had been searching close to the shore and checking for places where a body might be stuck – but that it was a difficult task.

“There’s ice and snow that’s blocking the light, so the divers can see about three feet, not more, in front of them,” Couture said in an interview.

“When it’s freezing water like that it’s more demanding for the body so you have to breathe more often and it reduces the oxygen you have in your (air) bottle,” he said.

Authorities say they have received nearly 600 tips from the public since the boy disappeared.

Alongside Ariel’s family on Monday afternoon, Montreal businessman Bruno Rodi came forward to offer a $50,000 reward for Kouakou’s safe return.

The total reward being offered is now $100,000.

Canadian boxer Adonis Stevenson is donating $15,000 to the boy’s family, who had already announced a $10,000 reward to anyone who helps find their son.

READ MORE: $10K reward for information being offered by family of missing Montreal boy

Volunteers have been gathering at the command post at Galeries Normandie to help with the search.

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“I have a child of my own and I have two grandchildren, and I figured if they were ever missing, I would want the whole world out looking for them as well — it’s a no-brainer,” said Montreal resident Rodney Mclean.

On Tuesday volunteer Louise Makovsky was collecting food to donate to the family, who have had a house full visitors since Ariel’s disappearance.

“My grandmother used to say ‘we feed everybody!'” she told Global News. “It’s just a way to show community caring.”


— with files from The Canadian Press, Peter Rakobowchuk.

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