The search for 10-year-old Ariel Kouakou is intensifying, as police deploy divers into the Rivière des Prairies, next to the park where he was last seen. The reward being offered to anyone who can help to locate the boy has increased, after boxing champion Adonis Stevenson donated $15,000 to the family.
During the early morning of Monday, march 19, six police divers, dove into the river in search of the boy, who vanished after leaving his home in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville district, to visit a friend on March 12.
An Amber Alert was issued on Tuesday, March 13 after he didn’t return home, which launched the all-out search in and around the area where Ariel disappeared, including along the riverbank of Rivière des Prairies.
The boy’s family, originally from The Ivory Coast, says he left home to visit a friend’s house around noon on that Monday.
His dad, Frédéric Kouakou, was quoted as saying, “it was the first time Ariel attempted to walk to the house alone.”
Surveillance cameras in the area caught him on his way over and a neighbor of the friend saw him ringing the doorbell. It turned out that the friend and his family were not at home at the time.
Although the Amber Alert was lifted after one day, the police together with a team of volunteers carried out an exhaustive search of the area especially around the neighborhood Parc des Bateliers, where Ariel was last seen.
After several videos, from CCCN cameras in the area showed Ariel walking the streets, the family says they have reasons to believe that he was abducted and they put forward a $10,000 reward for anyone who can help with his whereabouts, which was boosted by Stevenson’s donation.
As days have now extended to a week since their child has been missing, the family continues to harbor hope but their anguish is becoming increasingly obvious.
On Friday, March 16, Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou, the boy’s father was quoted as saying: “We are broken (…) if you have our child, bring him back to us,”
His mother, Akouena Noëlla Bibie lamented that she hadn’t slept since her son went missing and begged for anyone with information about Ariel’s whereabouts to come forward.
Ariel, who left home wearing a black coat with a hood, grey pants and yellow shoes, is about four-foot-seven and weighs about 88 pounds. If you see him or know something please call 911.