'Just completely heartbroken': Dylan Ehler's parents remain hopeful boy will be found
HALIFAX -- The parents of a toddler who has been missing for more than a week say they are heartbroken, but still holding onto hope that the boy will be found.
“It feels like day one over and over and over and over,” said Dylan Ehler’s father, Jason Ehler, in an exclusive interview with CTV News.
“I just want him to come home.”
Dylan was with his grandmother in her yard on Elizabeth Street in Truro, N.S., the afternoon of May 6. The woman became distracted for a moment and, when she turned back around, the three-year-old boy was gone. He was reported missing a short time later.
Dylan’s parents say he is energetic -- and fast. They recall how excited he was when he received a new bicycle for his birthday last month.
“I remember that day so well. He was off that bike and then into another person’s yard on their real motorbike,” said Jason Ehler. “Just in, like, four seconds. He was that fast, non-stop. He was a very, very happy child.”
An extensive search was launched for Dylan the day he disappeared, with crews scouring the ground and waterways near the grandmother’s home.
The search lasted six days, and while the active search has ended, the investigation into Dylan’s disappearance is ongoing, with new techniques being used this week.
His parents say they are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, and for everything that is being done to help bring him home.
“We didn’t expect the outpour to be as big as it was. We didn’t expect people to reach out like they have been and to help as they have been,” said Dylan’s mother, Ashley Brown.
“It’s a small comfort that people are out there helping and, you know, want to bring him home as much as we do.”
Until then, his parents are holding onto the memories they have of their son, and they want to share those memories with others.
“He is the most outgoing little boy I’ve ever seen and he just blows my mind every day with all the things that he does,” said his mother.
Dylan’s favourite TV show is “Paw Patrol” and his favourite book is “The Cat in the Hat.” He loves to play with toy trucks and planes and would ask his parents to read to him every day.
Brown and Ehler describe Dylan as a real “country boy” who loves to run, play in the dirt, and is always up for an adventure. They also say his enthusiasm is contagious.
“He’s one of them kids that never gave up,” said his father. “It didn’t matter what he was trying to do, if he hurt himself, he’d always get back up and he’d try and try until he did what he was going to do. He was amazing.”
As they try to deal with their pain, they say they remain optimistic, and are hoping for a miracle.
“We’re just completely heartbroken and afraid, but we’re remaining hopeful that somebody will bring him home,” said Brown.
“There will be a miracle and he’ll come home.”
Dive team will return to waterways
A dive team will return to the waterways in Truro, N.S., as police continue to investigate Dylan’s disappearance.
Wednesday evening, a mannequin was dropped into Lepper Brook and the Salmon River, near where the boy was last seen on May 6.
The mannequin was made to match the weight and height of the toddler and was wearing similar clothing.
The mannequin was also equipped with radio transmitters. Reporting stations were set up along the river to capture the signal, while a helicopter tracked the mannequin from the air.
“As the mannequin floats, the idea is that it will give a position to the receivers and it will be able to help us map and chart a possible area to search again,” Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil explained to CTV news.
Divers and members of Colchester Ground Search and Rescue assisted police with the launch and tracking of the mannequin’s movements in the water.
In the end, police say the weather and water conditions were not exactly the same as the day Dylan was reported missing.
“This trial was not meant to be an exact science; however, it is believed that the exercise did produce some useful information that the team will be evaluating,” said the Truro Police Service in a statement on Thursday.
Police say the data from the experiment has been collected, mapped and charted, and the dive team has been briefed.
“The dive team will be returning with a side sonar scanning device that should identify objects that need further inspection in the water,” said police.
They did not indicate when divers will be returning to the scene.
Search and recovery efforts focused on brook, river
Much of the search and recovery efforts have been focused on the waterways near the grandmother’s home.
The focus of the search shifted to Lepper Brook, which connects to the Salmon River, after crews found the little boy’s boots in the brook the evening of May 6.
Crews continued to scour the ground, brook and river on May 7.
However, that evening, police confirmed that the search for Dylan had shifted to a recovery operation.
The recovery operation continued from May 8 to May 11, with crews continuing to focus much of their efforts on the brook, the river, and expanding the search into Cobequid Bay.
Police also returned to the Elizabeth Street area and re-canvassed the neighbourhood.
The six-day search included support from local police, a K9 unit, the Truro Fire Service, Ground Search and Rescue teams from Colchester County and Halifax, a Department of Natural Resources helicopter, as well as a dive team.
Active search for missing toddler suspended
After consulting with Ground Search and Rescue, police said on Tuesday that the search for the missing boy had “been exhausted."
As a result, the active search for Dylan has been suspended, but his disappearance is still under investigation as a missing persons case.
Police say foul play is not suspected at this time.
Anyone with information on Dylan’s whereabouts is asked to call Truro Police at 902-895-5351.