As the search for 10-year-old Barway Collins stretches into its second week, police in Crystal say the reward for information that leads to the arrest of whoever took him has increased to $12,000.
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.
The reward was initially set at $1,000. But the police department, the Crystal Crime Prevention Board and Minnesota Crime Stoppers teamed up to increase the amount to $12,000, the police department announced Wednesday.
Updates on the investigation
The investigation into the boy's disappearance has taken several turns as it developed over the past week. Police initially said they believed Collins was with someone he knows and that he was safe, although they didn't comment on why they believed that.
But 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 several media interviews since then, 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.
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.”
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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.
FOX 9 reports Hennepin County deputies have been investigating a riverfront area. But when asked why, the sheriff's office declined to comment, and directed questions to the Crystal Police Department. Officials with that office would not comment, the station says.
Two 'persons of interest' not involved
Police also announced Wednesday that they have spoken to two people who were photographed in the apartment vestibule around the same time as Collins disappeared, and they are not involved in the case.
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.