The death of Barway Collins, a 10-year-old from Crystal who had been missing for more than three weeks until his body was found Saturday in the Mississippi River, was described as a homicide by Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering.
At a Sunday afternoon news conference, Revering said based on preliminary findings from the Hennepin County medical examiner, Collins' death was not an accident.
The exact cause of his death has not yet been determined, the medical examiner said.
The boy's body was found by searchers Saturday afternoon in the river at the North Mississippi Regional Park, near 53rd Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue North in North Minneapolis.
The search for Collins had focused on that area because police had gotten a tip that the boy’s 33-year-old father was seen there on March 18, the day the fourth-grader disappeared.
Revering said the boy's father is the main suspect in the case, reiterating they don't believe he has been truthful about his son's disappearance. The man has publicly denied any involvement.
Police are stationed at the Collins apartment in part to protect the father, and authorities have taken his passport to ensure he doesn't try to leave the country.
Barway's siblings are now staying with another relative.
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.
Police released video footage of Collins getting off a school bus near his apartment, which 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.