Three-year-old Dylan Ehler disappeared in seconds. His family wants changes to the missing child alert system

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TRURO, NS – Walking past the tiny bungalow in Truro, NS, there are signs of three-year-old Dylan Ehler everywhere; His job chart, his pictures, his pictures on the wall. The fiery little boy’s bedroom is still set up and waiting for him to come home.

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On May 6, 2020, Dylan nearly disappeared from his grandmother’s backyard. Every moment since then has been painful for her mother, Ashley Brown, and her father, Jason Ehler.

Pointing to the piles of presents wrapped in the living room, Jason says, “They’re all Dylan’s Christmas presents, birthday presents, and my presents. I won’t open a gift again until it’s found. Dylan is still missing. there is no God. How many times have I prayed? There’s just nothing.”

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Anyone who has ever lost sight of their child, even for a fraction of a second, knows the horror that sets in. Jason and Ashley have been living with that excruciating feeling for the past 18 months. With tears streaming down her face, Ashley says, “We don’t know that she was taken. We don’t know if he drowned. We don’t know whether he is alive or not. We are still in limbo.”

The only evidence found so far are Dylan’s rubber boots, discovered six hours after his disappearance, which were submerged in a creek behind his grandmother’s neighbor’s house.

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Despite an official search of six days, and hundreds of volunteer searches since then, not a single piece of other evidence has been found. In the absence of answers, conspiracy theories have taken hold. Dozens of online groups began to pop up, with amateur sleuths posting vicious rumors about her parents and grandmother. A monument was destroyed in the belief that Dylan may have been buried there. Jason started receiving ransom demands.

“A guy sent a picture…. Dylan, but it was all photoshopped and it looked like he had bruises on his face and stuff. And he wanted three bitcoins. Another…. He said he had Dylan in the truck. And if I didn’t send him a few thousand dollars, he would have thrown it 100 kilometers out the window.

Online bullying became so rampant that Jason and Ashley consulted with Halifax attorney Allison Harris.

“Ashley talks about being scared to go to the grocery store. I know some members of her family will [have] shouted ‘baby killer’ [at them] while they were walking down the street.”

Using Nova Scotia’s anti-cyber law, Harris filed and won a court injunction to shut down a Facebook group with more than 17,000 followers.

Truro Police has always maintained that there is no sign of any wrongdoing; That evidence points to the river where the shoes were found. Leper Brook feeds in the Salmon River, which flows into the Gulf of Fundy, home to some of the highest tides in the world.

Dylan’s parents have been vocal about their anger at the way Truro Police and Search and Rescue conducted their investigation in the critical early stages of the disappearance.

The W5 investigation reveals a protracted delay in the deployment of the Colchester Ground Search and Rescue team and in the public warning system. The timeline shows that the 911 call was made to Truro Police at 1:24 p.m. It took two hours and 21 minutes for the search and rescue teams to be fully deployed. A “non-intrusive public alert” was not issued until three hours and eight minutes after Dylan was reported missing. Neither a public alert nor a search and rescue operation could be activated until instructed to do so by Truro Police.

Dylan’s mother claims that the police were slow to act and focused only on one theory: that Dylan fell overboard and was swept away at sea.

“They never treated Dylan’s case like a criminal investigation. They just treated it like a search and rescue. I know they didn’t close any roads. They asked the public to come to the crime scene in that area.” that he had gone missing and it was too late for them to issue an alert and get help. So I think Tunnel Vision had a play in that. Once they found the shoes and that was it, there it was Gaya and essentially the police tell us that we need to accept it. And move on.”

Truro Police Chief Dave McNeill stands by his way of handling the case.

“We are very confident in our investigation. It was very thorough. No stone has been left unturned.” Chief McNeil insists that the case has been investigated as both a possible crime and a search and rescue operation and adds that the file is still open.

Rescuers looking for Dylan EhlerComplaints that the official investigation was flawed went well beyond Dylan’s family. An online petition with nearly 2,500 signatures has called for the creation of a new emergency alert system.

To be called the Ehler Alert, it would “facilitate the rapid distribution of information to the public about young children lost in potentially hazardous environments.”

The petition states: “We believe that these circumstances should require immediate public notification … When a child goes missing, time is of the essence and sometimes the gathering of search and rescue efforts will help him or her.” It takes a significant amount of time to heal safely. baby.” Petition Link.

Since his son went missing in May of 2020, Jason has been constantly conducting volunteer searches.

“I seek Him only when I feel at peace, I can breathe. When I am not, I cannot breathe….I have to find Him somehow. I am never going to stop For he is my only child. He is my everything.”

Watch “Where’s Dylan?” Saturday at 7 pm W5.

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