Barrie police spokesman Peter Leon told Barrie 360 it was a very long and very arduous night for detectives to try and determine the whereabouts of a 3-year-old girl.
An Amber Alert issued shortly after midnight on Wednesday was cancelled just before 8:30 a.m. this morning when the child was located safe in Toronto.
Leon said police were assisting a “community-based agency” that was conducting a follow-up investigation, and officers were asked to join them at an address in the city’s east end. When they arrived, police were expecting to find two children and there was only one.
“We did utilize Barrie Fire and Emergency Services who came with their thermal imaging to check the house to make sure she wasn’t hiding somewhere or anything like that,” explained Leon.
When that effort was exhausted, Leon said police proceeded to move to the next levels and ultimately the Amber Alert.
“I think the lack of information that police had to work with. Our investigators really had nowhere else to turn,” Leon said, explaining why the Amber Alert was issued.
“The Amber Alert was an option that was available to us. We reached out to the Ontario Provincial Police which manages and maintains the program on behalf of the province. They saw the need and urgency that certainly our detectives expressed by way of what they had learned.”
Leon added that the Barrie Police Service has nothing but praise for people in the community that assisted in the search for the little girl soon after the Amber Alert was issued.
“There were people searching that just wanted to do something to help,” said Leon. “We didn’t have a starting location. We didn’t know where the girl was. Those people drove around and walked, trudging in deep snow in some of our parks. This is a community that rallies to the cause.”
Leon said the circumstances that led police to Toronto are part of the ongoing investigation.
He said what’s most important is the child is in good health and is coming back home to Barrie.