RED EARTH CREE NATION – RCMP have suspended their aerial and boat search for a missing five-year-old boy in northern Saskatchewan after more than two months.
Frank Young went missing on the Red Earth Cree Nation on April 19. He was last seen at a playground near his home.
Sgt. Richard Tonge said the RCMP have used all the resources and technology available to them.
“This includes extensive searches by foot, aircraft and boat, as well as our underwater recovery team in the river,” Tonge said Tuesday.
In May, RCMP asked the Canadian Armed Forces to deploy Canadian Rangers to assist in the search, but Tonge said the request was denied.
The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Army Reserve who live and work in remote, isolated and coastal regions.
“The rationale is Rangers are generally deployed within 100 kilometres of their own community. That’s where they have their knowledge and expertise,” Tonge said.
“We do not have a ranger element within 100 kilometres of Red Earth Cree Nation, and so the decision was made by the Canadian Armed Forces that they would not deploy rangers in this incident.”
A spokeswoman for the Canadian Armed Forces said in a statement that it decided, following consultations with the RCMP, that its resources were not best placed to assist in the search.
The RCMP’s last aerial search was done by helicopter on June 11, and its last boat search was along Carrot River last Friday.
Tonge said boat and aerial searches will resume if new information comes in.
Members of Red Earth Cree Nation and neighbouring Shoal Lake Cree Nation continue to search their communities and the bank of the Carrot River.
Red Earth Cree Nation Chief Fabian Head said more than 92 square kilometres have been searched by more than 600 people, with nearly 500 areas tracked by a global positioning system.
RCMP also plan to return to Red Earth Cree Nation this weekend to search the receded riverbank for items belonging to Frank.
Frank was last seen wearing Paw Patrol rubber boots, green pyjamas with dinosaurs on them and a navy blue windbreaker-style jacket.
Chief Marcel Head of the Shoal Lake Cree Nation said knowledge keepers are guiding search crews to a part of Carrot River five to eight kilometres downstream from Frank’s home where there is a log jam.
“The knowledge keepers have always indicated that … these areas tend to catch any type of debris or any other items that float around the rivers, and that’s where they want the search team to concentrate,” Head said.
The community continues to treat the search for Frank as a rescue mission at the request of his family, he said
“It’s Day 64. The family is still optimistic and hopeful Frank will still be found soon,” he said.
“Each day amounts to more emotion, and becomes harder and harder as each day passes that we don’t find Frank.”
Tonge said he can’t predict with any certainty when and where Frank may be found, but the investigation will remain open.
“We never close a missing person’s file until we have definitive answers to what happened to that person.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2022.
— By Mickey Djuric in Regina
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RCMP call off boat, aerial search for missing Saskatchewan boy after two months