MONTREAL - Items used by a three-year-old boy and his alleged kidnapper have been found on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River northeast of Quebec City in a discovery that police said is a sign the pair is alive and in the area.
Quebec provincial police spent the third day searching the area for Jake Côté, who is the subject of an Amber Alert.
The primary search area is around the town of Ste-Paule, Que., on the Gaspé Peninsula, where 36-year-old David Côté allegedly kidnapped his son, police said.
The Amber Alert was expanded Wednesday provincewide and into parts of New Brunswick after investigators found an all-terrain vehicle believed to be used Côté.
"The investigation and the searches carried out on the ground since the beginning allowed us to make the discovery of objects which were used by David and Jake Côté," provincial police said in a news release Friday.
"We had these objects analyzed and we can now confirm that the DNA found on them belongs to David and Jake Côté."
Police said the discovery confirms the father and son were in the search area since the Amber Alert was issued.
"The ground search for Jake and David Côté continues tirelessly," the police release said. "Several police officers and specialized teams will continue to search the Ste-Paule area throughout the night."
Residents in the area were warned that police officers would be using loud speakers and voice carriers to broadcast a message and attempt to communicate with Côté.
"At this time, we are confident that the father and son may be found alive," police said.
Late Thursday, police said they thought the suspect was hiding in a densely-forested area, noting that Côté had wilderness survival skills and could be using materials gathered from nearby chalets and trailers to survive with this son.
Police have advised the public to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, but to stay away from the forest and avoid taking part in the search because Côté could be armed.
The suspect is five feet seven inches tall, weighs about 180 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.
Police said he was last seen wearing a dark sweater with a black logo, as well as black army-style pants.
The boy has been described as having short hair and wearing a T-shirt with an image of the number six or nine in blue camouflage and with silver stripes on the sleeves and bottom.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2021.