The parents of a three-year-old whose disappearance in early May prompted a search of the nearby river and an outpouring of public support say they believe their son may have been kidnapped and are offering a $ 10,000 reward for his return.
Dylan Ehler had been playing in the yard at his grandmother’s house on May 6 near Salmon River, just outside of Truro, N.S. Authorities have said that the grandmother was distracted momentarily by her dog and, when she looked up, Dylan was gone.
Search-and-rescue teams and dive teams from Colchester County and from Halifax combed the area around the nearby Salmon River for days. On the first evening, they found one of Dylan’s rubber boots along the bank of Lepper Brook, which merges into the river. A couple of hours later, they found the other boot, also along the riverbank.
After almost a week of searching with no further trace of Dylan, police called off the search on May 12.
But his parents said Thursday they aren’t giving up hope.
“The boots don’t make sense,” said Dylan’s father, Jason Ehler. “The boots have never made sense.”
“There were two boots that were (near) the water and they were found six or seven hours after he disappeared,” he said.
“People covered that ground as soon as (Dylan’s grandmother) screamed for help. As soon as the grandmother called for help, there was a guy instantly at that brook, and there was nothing. No boots, no boy, no nothing.”
Ehler and Dylan’s mother, Ashley Brown, say they believe it’s possible their son might have been kidnapped, and that his boots could have been thrown off the small railway bridge that passes over the Lepper Brook close to where it meets Salmon River.
They believe that police put all their attention into searching the river, and perhaps not enough into entertaining other possible explanations for Dylan’s disappearance.
Truro police have said they don’t believe there was foul play involved in the boy’s disappearance.
Ehler and Brown have been investigating themselves; talking to people, making phone calls and putting up posters. Eventually, aided by a GoFundMe campaign, they offered the reward: $ 10,000 for the return of Dylan alive and well and $ 1,000 for information leading directly to his whereabouts.
“I believe he was kidnapped, but it’s hard to say what really happened, because all they have are the boots,” said Ehler.
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“I feel like he was kidnapped; a lot of people feel like he was kidnapped — but we don’t know. That’s the problem. Nobody knows.”
“It’s been a nightmare. It’s been a complete nightmare. It’s like your worst nightmare coming true. It … there’s no words for it.
“One way or the other, we would like some closure.”
Truro Police were not immediately available for comment.