Missing Kids and Elderly Man Found Safe After Amber Alert

By Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak
July 11, 2019 Updated: July 11, 2019

Two children aged 2 and 4 and their 70-year-old grandfather have been found safe thanks to an amber alert issued early Thursday morning, July 11.

York Regional Police said in a news release that the three were last seen in the town of Newmarket in the early afternoon on Wednesday. Leo Easton supposedly went to park his van after dropping his wife off at a plaza across from Southlake Regional Health Centre at around 1:30 p.m. His two grandchildren, Harrison and Keegan Larocque, were in the car with him.

However, he drove away from the area for unknown reasons, police say, though they believe he may have been lost as he is originally from Pickering.

“Investigators did not believe that the children had been taken with malicious intent, however they were concerned for the well-being of Mr. Easton and his grandchildren,” the release says.

An amber alert was issued shortly after 3 a.m.

“It really came down to the amount of time that was ticking and the level of concern that we had for the children’s well-being because we knew that they had gone a period of time without eating, possibly not even a change of diapers, and we just weren’t sure whether the grandfather was capable of taking care of the children appropriately,” Detective Gary Harvey told CP24 Thursday.

Toronto Police were able to locate the blue Pontiac Montana van that Eaton was driving at about 4:30 in the morning. They say he and his grandchildren were in good health when they found them.

“As a direct result of the Amber Alert, Mr. Easton and his two grandchildren were located by the Toronto Police Service driving on Lakeshore Blvd. in Toronto. They are all in good health. We thank everyone for their assistance,” York Regional Police tweeted.

The children were checked by paramedics and then taken to a nearby McDonalds for a snack to wait for their parents, according to CP24.

Toronto Police say they received a number of complaint calls regarding the amber alert, and they are asking that people not call the 9-1-1 emergency line to complain.

“9-1-1 is for emergencies only. Following the @YRP #AmberAlert, 2 children & their grandfather were located. However, we have been receiving dozens of complaint calls. Please do not block 9-1-1 lines with non-emergencies, as you are risking the health & safety of others,” they said in a tweet.

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, amber alerts in 2019 have led to the safe return of four children.

Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak