By Duannah Siryon, Crystal, Minn
A 10 year-old Liberian boy went missing around 4:00 P.M. local time on March 18 from both his parents and the public immediately after his school bus dropped him off at his apartment complex in Crystal, Minnesota.
Barway Edwin Collins has never been found since that fateful day. A statewide search conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local law enforcement agencies, and community members has been ongoing, but there seems to be no sign of the 10 years old.
Local law enforcement officials have pledged a reward of $12,000 to anyone providing information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the 4thgrader’s disappearance and such person may choose to remind anonymous. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Hennepin County Dispatch at 952-258-5321.
According to family sources, Barway Collins immigrated to the United States in 2011 and has since been residing in Minnesota with his father, Pierre Collins.
On March 24th, the Crystal Police Department announced Pierre Collins, also a Liberian, as a primary suspect in the disappearance of his son. However, Pierre Collins has repeatedly maintained his innocence. “I will never do that to my son; I want the public to know that I love my son.” Pierre lamented to community members. “In helping to find my son, I have been working with them (law enforcement) every day and night; even in the middle of the night, I would wake up and give whatever information they want from me.” Pierre concluded.
Although Pierre Collins denied having any knowledge of his missing son, surveillance video from the school bus showed Barway Collins telling his schoolmates, “that’s my dad, and that’s my uncle,” just before being dropped off from the school bus. When Pierre Collins was asked where he was at the time his son was being dropped off from the school, he told CNN’s Nancy Grace he went to a grocery store to get some milk and other food items for his children. In another interview with Crystal Police, Pierre Collins told police officers he was at his apartment complex when his son went missing. However, when his wife was asked about the whereabouts of her husband, she told police officers he was not home.
Few weeks before Edwin Barway Collins disappeared, Pierre Collins had increased to $30,000 a life insurance policy on Edwin Barway Collins and other policies on his children.
Collins’ ex-wife Jennifer Beaver who helped to bring Barway over to the United States thinks Pierre should be held accountable: “He was very mean to Edwin, made threats to him, threatening to kill him or beat the heck out of him; he’s not a nice man,” she said
On March 23rd, a joint vigil service was organized by the Organization of Liberian in Minnesota (OLM), in collaboration with the Liberian Ministers Association (LMA), the Crystal Police Department and the FBI at the Cedarwood apartment complex in Crystal where little Barway was dropped off after school.
According to Law enforcement officials, Pierre Collins was last seen on the Mississippi River the day of his son missing and has directed most of their search around the river in anticipation of finding little Barway.
As it stands and despite their search efforts, the Crystal Police Department has continually insisted that the missing 4th grader’s case is yet to warrant Amber Alert. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, activation for an Amber Alert of a missing child depends on several factors:
There must be a reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred; the law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death; there must be enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child; the abduction is of a child aged 17 years or younger and the child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
The search for little Barway Edwin Collins still continues.