On Saturday afternoon, 24 days after 10-year-old Barway Collins was reported missing, a Boy Scout group spotted his body floating face-up in the Mississippi River near the intersection of 53rd and Lyndale Avenues North.
Police publicly shamed his father, Pierre Collins, for being untruthful throughout the missing person investigation, and now Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering says he's the primary suspect in a homicide investigation.
"We have electronic evidence that Pierre Collins was in the immediate vicinity of where Barway's body was found at the time of his disappearance," Revering told media at a press conference yesterday.
She wouldn't elaborate on what that electronic evidence was. Previously she has said Pierre flunked a lie detector test and that he has not been "completely truthful" with police during the search for Barway.
Police have been patrolling near Pierre's apartment complex to ensure his safety. They also seized his passport to make sure he doesn't go anywhere, but he has not yet been charged with any crimes related to his son's disappearance.
Barway was last seen leaving a school transportation van in front of the Crystal apartment building where he lived on March 18. On the van's surveillance video Barway says, "there's my dad," followed by "oh, my uncle's here." The apartment building's surveillance video shows Barway approaching the front door, but he's called away before entering the building.
Pastor Harding Smith has been acting as Pierre's spokesman for the last week. He maintains Pierre was out shopping at the Cub Foods in Brooklyn Center when Barway went missing, according to Channel 12.
Last week KSTP traveled to Wisconsin to interview Pierre's ex-wife Jennifer Beaver, who also strongly suspects he played a role in Barway's disappearance. She called Barway Edwin, which is his middle name.
"[Pierre] was very mean to Edwin. He made many threats toward Edwin, threatening to kill him, threatening to beat the heck out of him," she said in an on-camera interview. "He wasn't a nice man. This is why we're not together today."
Her abuse allegations resulted in a protection order where Pierre could not go near his children's schools, but Hennepin County declined to charge him with anything, citing a lack of evidence.
Pierre has also drawn scrutiny for taking out a $30,000 life insurance policy on Barway, but Pastor Smith says that was taken out three years ago and applies to all of Pierre's four children.
Ex-wife Beaver claims Pierre was behind on child support.
"Pierre is money hungry. Everything is about money," she said.
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