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Amber Alert: Police searching forest northeast of Quebec City for missing boy, father


MATANE, Que. — Quebec provincial police said Thursday they think a man who allegedly kidnapped his son earlier in the week is hiding with the child in a densely forested area about 400 kilometres northeast of the provincial capital.

The primary search area is around the town of Ste-Paule, Que., on the Gaspé Peninsula, where 36-year-old David Côté allegedly abducted his three-year-old son, Jake Côté, Tuesday evening, provincial police Sgt. Claude Doiron said Thursday.

News of the missing boy triggered an Amber Alert that was still in effect Thursday evening.

Police can't rule out that the pair have moved outside the main search zone and said the official search area comprises the whole province and parts of northwestern New Brunswick by the Quebec border, notably the communities of Madawaska, Restigouche and Gloucester. 

But police said efforts are being concentrated in the vast forested area on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River — and they have stopped asking for the public's help because the suspect could be dangerous and has survival skills.

"The investigation shows the individual has in-depth knowledge of the forest environment, that he has the ability to organize himself quickly for survival in the forest," they said in a statement Thursday. They added it was possible Côté was using materials from nearby chalets or trailers in the area to survive. They asked anyone noticing anything out of place to call 911.

"We are dealing with an individual who is possibly armed and who could act on impulse," police said. 

"We ask people not to venture into a place where they could put themselves at risk."

Police said they found an all-terrain vehicle allegedly used by the boy's father. "The discovery of the ATV used by David Côté and the ongoing investigation lead us to believe that the suspect could be looking for equipment to ensure his survival and facilitate his movements," they said.

The suspect is five-foot-seven, weighs about 180 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police said he was last seen wearing a dark sweater with a black logo, as well as black army-style pants.

Investigators said the boy has short hair and was wearing a T-shirt with an image of the number six or nine in blue camouflage and with silver stripes on the sleeves and bottom. The three-year-old was also wearing dark blue jeans and beige boots.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2021.

— By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.

The Canadian Press

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