Despite unsuccessful searches, missing Iqaluit teen’s mom keeps hope
“I am still waiting and hoping my son will come back”
Close to five months have passed since Bijoya Roy last saw her son, Ambar, in Iqaluit, and she wants to know where he is now, whether he’s dead or alive.
“I don’t have any answer, and I am not giving up until I have my answer,” Roy said.
On the morning of March 13, 18-year-old Ambar, who had spent the night in RCMP custody, intoxicated, vanished: he hopped out of a taxi on the Road to Nowhere and bolted into the frigid landscape, without paying his fare.
No one has seen Ambar since.
“When I see all his clothes, I feel terrible again,” Roy said by telephone from Waterloo, Ont., where Ambar and his brother were students at the University of Waterloo.
“I am still waiting and hoping my son will come back.”
Police called off the search efforts in and around the city for Ambar on March 27. The RCMP said then that “given the time frame since Ambar has been last seen, it is believed Ambar has succumbed to the elements.”
But a helicopter search in early July found no trace of the missing teen.
Ambar had spent his last two days in Iqaluit bouncing from his home to the airport, where he was twice prevented from boarding flights due to his vaping on the tarmac.
He also fought with his parents, although his mother said she didn’t know exactly what hardships he was facing in his life as a student.
And, among other places, Ambar also ended up at the now-closed damp shelter where he was refused entry because he was too young, before finally spending the rest of the night of March 13 in an RCMP cell.
After his release, and another unsuccessful attempt to fly south, he took that taxi to the Road to Nowhere and ran off.
Bijoya Roy said she doesn’t believe her son was suicidal.
The searchers most recently told Roy that they didn’t find anything: no clothes, “zero” from Ambar.
“They found a hunters jacket but nothing from Ambar,” his mother said.
The lack of evidence gives Roy renewed hope that Ambar may still be alive, if not in Iqaluit then outside the city, perhaps in another community.
Roy said police also told her they are now “confused” about the footprints in the snow that they tracked over more than 10 kilometres around the outskirts of Iqaluit.
“They found footprints in three different areas and now they think it might not be Ambar, but someone else,” she said. “I am thinking he might be somewhere else.”
While Roy said she needs help from the RCMP to continue the search for her son, she said she remains upset that the police didn’t call his family before they took him into custody in the early hours of March 13.
That could have prevented his disappearance, she said, but she admits she still needs help from the RCMP.
“I need help from the community,” she said.
To that end, there was a recent posting on Iqaluit’s social media news page asking for people to remain alert for any signs of Ambar, but Roy said she also wants to get the word out once more about her son’s disappearance to people and police outside the city.
Roy said she’s appreciated the support from people in Iqaluit where she works in a local school.
In Iqaluit, she and her husband, Amal, are not alone in their loss.
Benjamin Palluq, a homeless man, who was well-known and liked in Iqaluit, disappeared early in 2014, and his sister Geela Palluq-Cloutier wrote to Nunatsiaq News about how “not knowing what had happened to Ben is very difficult and sometimes debilitating.”
She also pleaded for information about why he’s missing: “something had happened to Ben and someone out there knows something.”
A carver, Lucassie Etungat, was also last seen in June 2016, although police say they did locate a jacket believed to have belonged to him and suspected he died in a hunting mishap.
Anyone with any information regarding Roy, Palluq or Etungat can contact the Iqaluit RCMP detachment at (867) 979-0123 or, in the event of urgent information, the Nunavut RCMP Dispatch Centre at (867) 979-1111.