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Search continues for missing boy

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MONTREAL—A provincial police helicopter circled over a Montreal neighbourhood today as the intensive search for a missing 10-year-old boy entered its third day.

Montreal Police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant said authorities still don't know what happened to Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, who hasn't been seen since Monday.

Officers in boats and on horseback combed a river and a wooded riverside park where Kouakou was last seen by a witness shortly after he left his family home to head to a friend's house, he said.

More than 120 tips have been called in since police launched an Amber Alert for several hours on Tuesday, but Brabant said none of them have proved concrete.

“For now, all the hypotheses are looked at because we don't have any leads,” he said in an interview.

“We have more than 100 tips that came into our line and all of them were looked at, but none of those helped us to start a point of search.”

Police were being helped this morning by about 30 volunteers.

One of them, Yannick Adou, said he was convinced the boy was kidnapped, and added the group would be going door-to-door to find out if Kouakou was in someone's home.

He said the loss of one of the community's children was felt by everyone.

“I'm a father, I have three kids, so it's painful to know that we lost one of our kids,” he remarked.

“We are mobilized to find Ariel and it's very, very important for all of us.”

Cst. Raphael Bergeron said officers patrolled the north-end Montreal neighbourhood during the night but saw no sign of Kouakou.

Police say the boy, who is French-speaking, is black, has black hair and black eyes, and was wearing a black coat with a hood, grey pants, and yellow shoes before he disappeared.

The boy's father, Frederic Kouakou, said yesterday he was holding out hope his son would come home safely.

Authorities say a mobile command post remains in the area, and they're asking anyone with information to call police or to join the search.

Brabant admitted the search was becoming harder with each passing day but said police won't give up until the boy is found.

“It's quite rare [in the case of] a young boy who has been missing for three days in a residential neighbourhood for nobody to see anything,” he said.

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