CRYSTAL, Minn. - The father of a 10-year-old boy who has been missing since March 18 has not been completely honest with authorities and is now considered a suspect in the child's disappearance, police said Tuesday.
Barway Collins was last seen after school on Wednesday, March 18 at his apartment complex. Video from the apartment's vestibule shows that as the boy was going inside, he turned around as if he was called over to the parking lot by someone he knew, and he walked away, police said.
Authorities released video Tuesday that shows the boy in a van after school. At one point, Barway said "There's my dad," and as he was getting out of the vehicle, he said that he also saw his uncle.
"The father and the party described as uncle are likely the last known people to have seen Barway," Police Chief Stephanie Revering said. "Unfortunately we have reason to believe that Barway's father has not been completely truthful with us."
Revering said the father, Pierre Collins, has not told police who the man Barway called "uncle" might be. She said the term can be used to describe a family member or close friend of the family. Revering asked the Liberian community and the public for help identifying the man.
Revering said that Collins has not been arrested or charged, but "he is considered a suspect at this time." She did not elaborate on how authorities believe he might be involved.
Pierre Collins said Tuesday night during an interview with CBS Minnesota that he had nothing to do with his son's disappearance.
"We miss Barway," he said. "We miss Barway walking through the door, we miss Barway in the home laughing, dancing. We have nothing to hide. We did nothing wrong to Barway."
Collins said because of Barway's Liberian upbringing, he refers to most older males as "uncle," and could have been referring to any number of people.
"Any older person is called uncle, any friend is called uncle," he said.
Revering said police have conducted numerous searches and interviews with family members, who have been cooperating. She also said Collins was given a lie-detector test, and "we believe he was untruthful."
Barway's biological mother is believed to be in Liberia. Revering said police have been checking flights to see if there was any possibility the child may have been sent overseas to be with her.
"It's very difficult for our department, and frustrating because we are doing everything we can to locate Barway, and that's our No. 1 goal," Revering said.
During a Monday night vigil in front of the apartment complex, Pierre Collins and Barway's stepmother, Yamah, pleaded for his safe return.
"Barway has been gone for a very long time now," Pierre told the crowd gathered. "We are begging and asking everyone to look out there."
The FBI, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office have been called in to help with the investigation.