The family of a five-year-old boy from Red Earth Cree Nation who was recently found dead spoke out on Tuesday in Prince Albert.
Frank Young was found in a river on the Saskatchewan First Nation Saturday, 81 days after he went missing. He was found near the area where he was last seen.
"Frank has joined other family members that have gone before us.… [He's] in the kingdom where my loved ones are," said Young's grandmother Teresa Whitecap.
"Frank led a sinless life, because he didn't know what sin was. He was innocent."
His family said Tuesday that they are devastated. They said Young will be remembered for his creativity and his love of the children's show, Paw Patrol.
Young was last seen on April 19 playing outside the home where he lived with his aunt and uncle on the Red Earth Cree Nation, about 300 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
Despite an extensive land, aerial and boat search of the community and surrounding area, the boy had not been seen since that day.
Chief Marcel Head of Shoal Lake Cree Nation, where Young's parents live, thanked the people in Saskatchewan and across Canada who helped support the search for Young.
"Today we collect our prayers and our thoughts to the family, that God of will give them strength to get through this sad situation. Everyone wanted to have good expectations of the return of little Frank. It was not to be so."
Head also thanked all the people that came and helped throughout the search.
Investigation still open
Officers received a report at about 7:06 p.m. CST on Saturday that Frank's body had been found in the river, according to the RCMP.
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.
Carrot River RCMP Detachment Commander Sergeant Richard Tonge spoke Tuesday about why it took so long for Young to be found.
"Despite our best efforts using cutting edge technology, nature is powerful. And even in , sometimes our technology cannot overcome nature," Tonge said.
Even though Young's body has been found, Tonge said the investigation is not over until police and the coroner can determine exactly what happened.
"So at this point, I do not have an official cause of death or a manner of death provided from the coroner's service. That will be forthcoming," Tonge said.
Police said they have found no evidence that Young's death was supicious.
"Even upon examination at the scene, there was no obvious trauma. Frank's clothing was intact, and everything we saw was consistent with Frank being in the river for a considerable period," Tonge said.
Head said many donations have come in to support the search for Young. Now that he is found, the remaining funds will go toward honouring his memory.
"There'll be a sort of a memoriam monument for Little Frank. Just something, you know, that we need to develop in the community of Red Earth just to remember the little boy," said Head.
"In our culture, you know, when something tragic like this happens, we want to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
Head said an awareness campaign will run in both the Red Earth and Shoal Lake communities to make sure that parents learn the best ways to keep their children safe.
"Please, we beg you to keep your children safe, so something like this doesn't happen again." said Head.
On Wednesday, the family will take Young's body back to Red Earth for a wake. Then on Thursday, they will travel to Shoal Lake where his parents live. Young will be laid to rest on Friday at the Shoal Lake cemetery.