MONTREAL — A nearly week-long saga involving a missing three-year-old boy in northern Quebec came to a peaceful conclusion on Sunday as police reunited the child with his mother and arrested his father for alleged involvement in his disappearance.
Quebec provincial police launched a massive manhunt for the father and son after the boy was reported missing on Tuesday, triggering an Amber Alert that remained in place for four days and briefly broadened to encompass a neighbouring province.
While the pair were located alive on Saturday night, police said the situation took several more hours to resolve as officers entered into talks with the 36-year-old father.
"The negotiations lasted all night long until noon today, when the father was controlled by police officers," Sgt. Claude Doiron of the Sûreté du Québec said in a telephone interview on Sunday. "The police was able to get the child back, who's safe and healthy and was reunited with his mother."
Doiron says no charges have been laid against the man so far and did not share what, if any, he may be facing.
Police said the father and son were initially located on Saturday and were confined in a house not far from where they were last seen in Sainte-Paule, Que., roughly 400 km northeast of Quebec City.
Doiron said police surrounded the house for more than 20 hours while negotiations unfolded.
Father and son were initially believed to be in the heavily forested area near Ste-Paule on the Gaspé Peninsula.
Police noted at the time that the father had wilderness survival skills and may have made use of nearby chalets and trailers for shelter and supplies.
They conducted aerial and ground searches for the pair and at one point used loudspeakers to try and establish contact with the father.
On Friday, investigators announced they had used DNA testing to identify items used by the pair, a discovery they said suggested they were nearby and alive.
The Amber Alert triggered when the boy first went missing was briefly extended into New Brunswick before ultimately being lifted on Saturday once he was located.
Amber Alerts are public bulletins issued whenever a child has gone missing and is believed to be in imminent danger.
Doiron said the investigation in to the boy's disappearance is still active.
"The police will investigate and decide what possible charges could be laid against the suspect," Doiron said.
He also thanked the public for their support during the massive manhunt, particularly locals in the Ste-Paule area.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 5, 2021.
Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press