Police claim the father of Barway Collins was in an area near the Mississippi River shortly after the 10-year-old was last seen.
Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering revealed at a press conference Thursday afternoon that investigators have found the boy's father was by the river near Interstate 694 North between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the day his son was last seen, March 18.
The boy was reported missing at 6:30 p.m.
FOX 9 reports Crystal police searched woodland along the riverfront by interstates 694 and 94 on Wednesday, but their search turned up nothing. Searches will continue, Revering said.
"We have strong evidence to say he [the father] was there," Revering told reporters.
Revering said that the father, who is not under arrest, "continues not to be truthful" with officers, after revealing that he was being considered a suspect at news conference on Tuesday.
Police did not offer specifics Thursday about what they believe the father isn't being truthful about.
In several media interviews this past week, including one with the Star Tribune, Barway’s father denied any involvement in his son’s disappearance, and said he doesn’t know why the police are questioning his truthfulness.
Police are also continuing to appeal for the public's help to find a man Barway Collins referred to as "his uncle" in footage taken from the school bus he got off shortly before he disappeared. Asked about the boy's well-being, Revering said: "At this moment I can't comment, we are very hopeful he is still alive."
Updates on the investigation
Collins, a fourth grader, was last seen after school on March 18 near the Cedarwood apartment building where he lives, in the 5400 block of Douglas Drive North in Crystal. A reward of $12,000 is now being offered to find the person responsible for his disappearance, the police department announced Wednesday.
The search has intensified as the days have passed with no word on his whereabouts. Officials said Tuesday they are now treating Collins’ father as a suspect. They said they “have reason to believe that Barway’s father has not been completely truthful.”
In addition, police released video footage of Collins getting off a school bus near his apartment last Wednesday. Police say the footage shows the boy saying, “There’s my dad” and, “Oh, my uncle’s here.”
Another video clip from the apartment’s surveillance camera showed Collins walking up to the vestibule of the apartment building but then turning around and walking away.
Police are looking for the man that Collins called his uncle. The boy’s father said he doesn’t know who Barway was referring to, and noted that in the Liberian culture, “uncle” can also describe an older adult or friend.
Barway Collins is approximately 5 feet tall and 80 pounds. At the time he went missing, he was wearing a white t-shirt and black pants, and was carrying a red and gray backpack. Police are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 952-258-5321 or 800-222-8477.
A team of volunteers will be searching for Barway tonight, meeting at 5450 Crystal Drive, Crystal, at 6.30 p.m. You can find out more information here.