MATANE, Que. - Quebec provincial police on Wednesday widened the search area for a three-year-old boy who was allegedly abducted by his father in a town 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
Police issued an Amber Alert on Tuesday evening after the boy was allegedly taken around 1 p.m. earlier that day by 36-year-old David Côté in Ste-Paule, Que., on the Gaspé Peninsula.
A day later, they said the search for three-year-old Jake Côté had been expanded across the province and into New Brunswick.
Police said they enlarged the perimeter after locating the all-terrain vehicle allegedly used by the boy's father.
Quebec provincial police spokesman Claude Doiron said investigators believe the suspect could be on foot or in a vehicle.
"Could he have gotten in a car? Could he have hitchhiked? … We have to look at that possibility," Doiron said in an interview Wednesday, adding that police have evidence to suggest Côté could be armed.
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 a six or nine graphic in blue camouflage, as well as silver stripes on the sleeves and bottom of the shirt. He was also wearing dark blue jeans and beige boots.
Doiron said the area near where the child disappeared is densely forested and "very vast," which he said complicates the search.
While he refused to divulge the full scale of police resources dedicated to the search operation, he promised that no effort was being spared to bring the child home.
"Everything that is humanly possible to do in the circumstances, it’s being done," Doiron said.
Police are warning the public not to approach the suspect if they see him and to instead immediately call police. They're also asking the public to stay away from the Ste-Paule area to avoid interfering with the work of police and dog handlers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2021.