Father of Ariel Kouakou writes letter to person he believes abducted his son
It's been nearly five months since 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou disappeared from his north-end neighborhood. On Tuesday, his family released an open letter to the person they still believe may have abducted the youngster.
"We do believe that Ariel is still alive. For many reasons, somebody can be with Ariel," said the boy's father, Kouadio Frédéric Kouakou. "Some people can feel like they're alone. They don't have kids and they want to fill this empty place by having a kid."
Ariel was last seen on the afternoon March 12, walking in the Parc des Bateliers in the New Bordeaux section of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. Security cameras filmed the boy entering the park, but no sign of him leaving ever emerged. And while Montreal police believe he slipped into the Rivière des Prairies and drowned in a tragic accident, the elder Kouakou has believed all along that the boy was kidnapped, and that he would have never gone close enough to the water's edge to fall into the river.
The family now says it's ready to offer forgiveness to whoever may have kidnapped Ariel.
“Love is the most important thing we have to share,” Ariel's father said. “If that person needs love, we are ready to give that person love. We want to share everything, even our lives, to tell them that. We can be there for them, we can share our life with them, we can give them love.”
In the months since Ariel vanished, his father says his wife's courage kept the family going.
"In the beginning, she was totally down, but with prayers, with the presence of our friends, she feels better now," he said. "Our daughter, she's just a baby, she doesn't have the same feeling as us but sometimes she'll ask to know where her brother is. But she always says prayers to God to protect Ariel and she's hopeful Ariel will be back soon."
In the wake of Ariel's disappearance, the family launched an online petition which it delivered at the National Assembly, calling for a special police unit to deal with potential child abductions.