'We're not going to stop:' OPP continue search for missing toddler in South Frontenac

Search and rescue teams continued their search for a missing toddler in South Frontenac on Tuesday. (Kimberley Johnson/CTV News Ottawa)

The search continues for a missing three-year-old boy in South Frontenac.

Jude Leyton went missing Sunday at his family’s fishing resort on Canoe Lake Road near Westport, Ont., around 11 a.m.

Ontario Provincial Police, including helicopter, marine units and volunteer search and rescue teams have now spent several days looking for the child.

Const. Curtis Dick, with Frontenac OPP, says it continues to be an active investigation.

“Until we can verify one way or the other, we’re not going to stop,” he explains. Kimberley Johnson

The units continued to comb the area throughout the day Tuesday. Dick says the investigation is still considered a rescue.

“We’re still hopeful for a search and rescue,” he says. “But obviously with the time, terrain, elements it does push us towards a recovery, but we’re still hopeful for the rescue.”

Dick says the search has been scaled back to conserve resources. The teams have gone from 50 volunteers to about 20 on the ground searching, rotating teams through.

An Underwater Search and Rescue team vehicle could be seen parked on the street on Tuesday. The family’s property sits near a body of water.

“We have to do our due diligence in that we’re looking at air, land and water, and that’s why they’re here as well,’ explains Dick. “Because water is a factor in this.”

Dick says they are preparing for anything.

“We’ve had those conversations, as to it’s an active search, with the potential of a recovery so we’ve had those conversations as well, the family is coping,” he says.

The family has asked for privacy as the search continues.

On Tuesday, police tweeted that reports that a footprint had been discovered have been ‘unfounded’, Dick says the footprint is no longer part of the active investigation.

Search continues for missing 3 yr old boy in S.Frontenac. OPP utilizing extensive resources on land, in air and on local waterway. Trained volunteers with @OSARVA are assisting. Recent reports on social media re footprints were unfounded. ^bd pic.twitter.com/acRx9CQPLV

— OPP East Region (@OPP_ER) March 30, 2021

Officers say they still need people to avoid the area, and have no current plan to call on the public for help.

“With unskilled searchers, we have to be able to track where they are, and make sure that they’re safe as well. So there’s a bunch of puzzle pieces that need to come together for that.”

Dick says anyone who has a tip or local video footage is welcome to pass it along. The officers will continue their investigation, and have no timeline to stop.

“They’ll be here today, tonight, and into tomorrow as well."