About 60 people held an emotional prayer service Saturday afternoon for 10-year-old Barway Collins, the boy who's been missing from his Crystal home for more than a week.
The event was tense at times, according to WCCO, when a few people in the audience accused Collins' father of hiding information about the boy's disappearance.
“Clear your conscience, bro!” one man shouted, according to WCCO. “He knows where that kid is.”
The father is considered a suspect by Crystal police, although he has denied any involvement in the case.
Other community members defended the father and asked people to focus on finding Barway instead of casting blame.
“If we are not careful about how we disseminate information, you can almost find an innocent person guilty,” said Liberian community leader Imam Mohammed Dukuly, according to the Star Tribune. “Let us stand by the family in this moment of grief. Let us not decide who’s guilty right now.”
Collins' father did not speak at the event, but his stepmother, Yamah Collins did, pleading for Barway's safe return.
“It’s been 10 days now. We haven’t seen our son, we miss him,” she said, according to WCCO.
At one point she began screaming "bring Barway home" and collapsed.
Crystal police have been searching for the past few days along the river near North Mississippi Regional Park. They say they have “strong evidence” that Barway Collins' father was in that area around the time his son went missing 10 days ago.
Volunteers also spent the day searching in the area.
Collins has not been seen since March 18, when he was dropped off at his apartment building after school. Surveillance video shows he walked up to the building's entrance but then turned around and walked the other way.
Police also released video footage of Collins getting off the school bus, in which he can be heard saying, “There’s my dad” and, “Oh, my uncle’s here.” Police are still looking for the man that Collins called "uncle."
A $12,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible for Collins' disappearance.
Crystal Police said they hope to release more information in their investigation on Monday.