The Town of Truro, N.S., says data was collected and mapped on Thursday after it used an “innovative technique” to assist with the search for a three-year-old boy who went missing last week.
In a news release Wednesday, the Town of Truro said the search and rescue team launched a mannequin that is approximately the same height and weight as Dylan Ehler, the missing child, into Lepper Brook.
“This mannequin will be tracked overhead by helicopter, and reporting stations will be set up along the Salmon River to capture the signal,” said Town of Truro spokesperson Josée Gallant on Wednesday.
“The provincial dive team will also be in the Salmon River, near Stanfield’s Ltd., as part of this exploratory trial.”
Following the end of the trial, the town said in a news release that the Truro Police Service will be meeting to decide the next steps.
The town also noted that the weather and water conditions were not exactly the same as they were on May 6 when the child went missing.
“This trial was not meant to be an exact science; however, it is believed that the exercise did produce some useful information that the team will be evaluating.”
Investigators hope the technique will provide further clues to Dylan’s possible whereabouts.
Dylan disappeared at 1:15 p.m. on May 6 while visiting his grandmother in the area of Elizabeth and Queen streets.
Dave MacNeil, chief of the Truro Police Service, said his grandmother became briefly distracted, and when she turned around, Dylan was gone.
Police said Tuesday that the search area on land and in the water had been “exhausted” and that they would be suspending the operation. They will continue a missing person investigation.
Police said the decision to stand down the recovery effort was made after search commanders and police investigators met with Dylan’s parents and other family members.
In Wednesday’s release, the town said Wednesday’s tides are similar to those of May 6 and conditions are ideal for this new technique.
“The Town of Truro will be pulling the stop logs back out of the reservoir on the Lepper Brook this afternoon to simulate the brook conditions that were present on May 6,” said Gallant.
“It is hoped that this technique will produce new information and assist in locating any new potential searching areas.”
The town is asking residents not to call 911 to report anything suspicious in the Salmon River during this operation.
In a post to the Town of Truro Facebook page, residents were also cautioned against private searches for the boy following social media posts that appeared to be co-ordinating such efforts.
“We understand that people are trying to be helpful,” the post reads, “but there is great risk to untrained people conducting these types of searches as ground search and rescue and the fire service are equipped with the proper equipment and training.”
The post also points out that many spots along the river are private property.
Dylan was last seen wearing a dark green jacket with brown fur around the hood, camouflage pants and “bluish” rubber boots. He has brown hair and rosy cheeks, with one eye blue and the other green.
The search team has found the toddler’s boots in two different locations.