“As time goes on, our concern for Frank grows,” Carrot River RCMP Sgt. Richard Tonge said as the search for missing 5-year-old entered its 11th day.
“With each passing day, each passing hour, our concern continues to intensify.”
Tonge, Red Earth Cree Nation Chief Fabian Head, and Prince Albert Grand Council’s (PAGC) Director of Emergency Services Cliff Buettner provided an update on the search efforts for Frank Young Friday morning.
Warm weather has allowed new search areas to open up as the snow melts on Red Earth Cree Nation, where the boy was last seen by his family on April 19. On Friday, 200 volunteers and 13 search and rescue teams continued ground and aerial searches, but no indication of the missing child has been found so far.
Sgt. Tonge says the RCMP is relying on statements from witnesses to uncover what happened to Frank, as they have no physical evidence to rely on.
“We’re receiving tips from Edmonton, Red Deer, from different communities. They are using their police services to investigate those tips.” he said. “We follow up on leads, no matter how small they are, where they come from or where they are located.”
Leaders from Red Earth, PAGC, and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) requested an Amber Alert be issued for the missing boy, but were told that Young’s disappearance did not fit the criteria. However, a Saskatchewan Emergency Advisory Alert was issued when Frank was reported missing and remains active.
The requirements for an Amber Alert include proof that an abduction has occurred and the child is in grave danger. Police say they are not ruling out an abduction, but have no evidence to support criminal involvement in Frank’s disappearance.
Residents of Red Earth and nearby Shoal Lake Cree Nation have remained “resilient” in spite of the devastation, says Chief Fabian Head. The First Nations have experienced the loss of 3 community members since April 17, and with the end of the search nowhere in sight, everyone is beginning to feel the emotional toll.
“We come together in times like this, to support one another,” he said. “The words of our elders encourage us and give us those words of comfort that we are thankful for.”
Chief Head asks that anyone able to provide Red Earth with support or aid in the search efforts to contact the Emergency Response Coordinator at 306-401-8124. Volunteers will continue to search through the weekend, but crews are getting tired from the almost two week long effort. They are accepting individual volunteers, as well as monetary funds or resources to provide the search and rescue crews with food and fuel.