Amber Alert cancelled but 5 children still missing

An Amber Alert issued for five children in Ontario has been cancelled, but the children are still missing and Niagara police are continuing to search for them and their father.

Niagara Regional Police ask members of the public to remain vigilant and to call 911 if they see Ian MacDermid or the children. He is believed to have abducted them. Detectives said they were concerned for the children’s safety when the alert was issued on Tuesday afternoon.

MacDermid is described as 49 years old, standing about six feet tall, weighing 280 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair and a beard.

Further investigation by the Niagara Regional Police Child Abuse Unit revealed that MacDermid is believed to be driving a car similar to a 2002, red, four-door Toyota Camry with the Ontario licence plate of CJMB 976.

Police say he was last seen in this car on Oct. 1 at around 5 p.m. in the Niagara region. The children were not with him.

Police also say that this information was a direct result of the Amber Alert that was issued.

In an email to CBC Hamilton, Const. Philip Gavin clarified that the “Amber Alert has an expiration period,” which means that the “active messaging by the Amber Alert system stops.” The expiration period is five hours.

“The Amber Alert completed its goal in notifying the community and bringing attention to the matter,” he said. “It is then the responsibility of the respective police service to continue to raise the alarm and put out messaging.” The investigation remains ongoing.

In 2016, an Amber Alert was sent out for a nine-year-old girl and ended a day later, although Niagara regional police had yet to find her. She was found safe over a week later.

Before the Niagara sighting, he was last seen in Jordan, Ont., and police thought he may be driving a gold or beige pickup truck.

Police say all of the MacDermid children are Asian and describe them as follows:

  • Magnus, age 14, black spiky hair, glasses and a medium build.
  • Eska, 13, five-foot-one, with a medium build and long brown hair.
  • Sovereign, 11, five-foot-two, heavy set with long black hair.
  • Mattias, 10, four-foot-eight, with light brown caramel hair and a small/medium build.
  • Evalyn, 5, three-foot-eight, with  long black hair, and a medium build.

Investigators allege the children were taken from their home in Jordan, a community between Hamilton and St. Catharines, sometime between Sept. 19 and 25.

The children were under a temporary custody order, which police say their father violated by failing to return them.

They were reported missing to police by a local agency within the past 24 hours, Const. Phil Gavin said during a news conference on Tuesday.

He said police are still gathering details and hope to release more in the future.

It’s not clear when the children were supposed to be returned, or why there was a gap between the 25th and when the missing persons report was filed.

Police say the family previously lived in the Toronto area and still has family and friends there, so it’s possible MacDermid is headed that way.

“We’re asking the public to be alert for these people and if anyone has information we’re asking them to contact their local police as soon as they can,” said Gavin. “Our primary concern is locating [and] ensuring the safety and welfare of these children.”

Gavin said the mother is “concerned for the welfare of the children. She doesn’t know where her children are and I think that would be very traumatizing to anybody but she’s speaking with our detectives and with her support we hope to reunite the children with her and bring this all to a safe and peaceful resolution.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Niagara police or Ontario Provincial Police at 911.

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