It’s been four months since three-year-old Dylan Ehler went missing in Truro, N.S.
The toddler is presumed to have drowned in waters that lead to the Salmon River but his body has never been recovered.
On Sunday, Dylan’s parents Jason Ehler and Ashley Brown were joined by dozens of community members for an organized search of the area where the boy was last seen.
“Today is all about Dylan, we’re hoping to find something, some closure, anything,” said Jason Ehler who organized the public search. “It’s also for support and coming together, and talking about him, and being there for him.”
The three-year-old went missing on May 6, while visiting his grandmother’s house on Elizabeth Street, when the family says Dylan was playing in the back yard and his grandmother turned her back to put a dog on the leash and Dylan vanished.
They believe he may have fallen into the nearby Lepper Brook, which feeds into the Salmon River.
It’s where police found Dylan’s blue rubber boots and that’s all the family say they know about the disappearance but the father isn’t ruling out foul play either.
“He could have been abducted,” said Ehler. “The boots don’t make sense. They find the boots six hours later in two different areas in the brook, with all the debris in the brook. Anyone could have just thrown his boots in the brook and just walked away.”
Truro police and emergency first responders spent a week searching the waterway, utilizing help from the Truro Fire Department’s ground search and rescue team, Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office, a police canine unit, a helicopter, aerial drones, a thermal imaging camera, along with a dive team with underwater cameras and mannequin tracker.
The river current was high and moving dangerously fast at the time and eventually, the search and recovery effort was called off by police on May 12, after they exhausted all search options.
This time the family wanted to go over the area once more with help from the community.
“To try and find clues, to try and figure out where Dylan went and what happened to him and to try and bring him home or find closure,” said his mother Ashley Brown.
More than 40 people joined the search and split into four groups, retracing Dylan’s last known whereabouts and combing parts of the river, which is moving much slower now.
Wings of Mercy a volunteer search support group that lends families a hand to find missing loved ones got involved.
“The brook is pretty dry right now and when Dylan went missing it was rushing, it was pretty high, it was waist about deep and so it’s much different right now than it was in May,” said Lisa Fenton, search coordinator with Wings of Mercy.
The Salmon River feeds into the Bay of Fundy so Fenton is asking everyone who gets out along the waterway to keep their eyes open.
“A lot of people will say, ‘why haven’t they found him, why hasn’t a fisherman found him? You are looking for a 30-pound body or person in that vast bay.'”
Despite the odds, the family says they won’t give up their search for their son and hope to find some answers.
Truro police ask anyone with information to contact them.