Nunavut RCMP call off search for missing Iqaluit teenager

“It is believed Ambar has succumbed to the elements”

After multiple, unsuccessful searches, on March 27 police called off the search for Ambar Roy, 18, missing since March 13. (Photo courtesy of the RCMP)

By Jane George

(Updated at 3:15 p.m., March 28)

The week-and-a-half long search effort to find 18-year-old Ambar Roy of Iqaluit has ended.

The RCMP said in a news release on Wednesay that “given the time frame since Ambar has been last seen, it is believed Ambar has succumbed to the elements. Any further search would be considered a recovery versus a rescue mission.”

Police said they would continue to support his parents, Bijoya and Amal Roy, and would continue to work to bring closure to the family as early as possible.

Through a friend their message was: “Endless thanks to the searchers, the RCMP, their supporters and families. The kindness and ongoing prayers of the community members is gratefully acknowledged.”

No further ground search in the area will take place until the snow in the area recedes with the spring melt, the RCMP said.

The search for the missing teenager, a student at the University of Waterloo, was exhaustive, police said.

It involved a city-wide search of Iqaluit with volunteers on foot, as well as additional searches, which included volunteers with snowmobiles, out on the land past the Road to Nowhere, where Roy was dropped off by an unidentified driver on March 13.

On Tuesday, once again, searchers combed an area about 10 kilometres north-northeast of Iqaluit. At that point, the tracks showed that Roy was wearing only one shoe.

The map in the Nunavut Wildlife Management office, to the right of the muskox head, shows the area near Iqaluit where searchers looked for Ambar Roy. (Photo by Jane George)

The area where Roy is believed to be located is extremely rough terrain, police s

With recent near-blizzard conditions on Saturday and Monday, the snow cover is upwards of five to six feet in areas. Police said that if Roy was exposed, he would have been located.

Speaking on social media, Jimmy Akavak of Iqaluit’s search and rescue said “we would like to thank Nunavut Emergency Management, RCMP and the local tireless volunteers that came out to search yesterday. We feel for the Roy family here in Iqaluit. A big thank you to all who donated their time and food for the searchers. May God comfort you all in these trying times.”

A local company skilled in flying drones has also flown the search grid, police said. This produced video footage, which investigators can sift through for any potential signs of the boy.

Police said they wanted to remind the community that Roy’s disappearance was an “isolated one.”

They said there’s no evidence that is suspicious or criminal in nature, in connection to Roy’s being left near a bridge on the Road to Nowhere on March 13.

Nunatsiaq News has learned that Roy had not been allowed on his flight south to Ottawa March 12  because he was vaping on the ramp, part of the tragic set of circumstances which defined his last days.

“He was denied boarding on our flight because he did not comply with several clearly stated requests from our employees to not vape while on the ramp,” said spokesperson, Kelly Lewis, for Canadian North.

“The safety of our passengers and employees is always our number one priority and we have a zero-tolerance policy towards disruptive behaviour. This includes refusing to comply with safety instructions from our employees that are in place to ensure everyone’s well-being.

“Our pre-boarding announcements specifically state that smoking and the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic devices on the ramp is not permitted,” Lewis said.

The night before he had been scheduled to return south, Roy had attempted to spend the night at Iqaluit’s “damp” shelter.

But because Roy was under the age of 19, he was not allowed to stay at the shelter, and police have said he went home.

In the early morning hours of March 13, Roy returned to the damp shelter but was not allowed in, police said.

Police have said they do not know where the teenager spent the night of March 12, before heading out to the Road to Nowhere on March 13.

But another outline of Roy’s activities from March 11 to March 13 has surfaced online, in a posting from a close friend of the Roy family, who called Ambar “quick thinking and sometimes impulsive without considering the consequences.”

“He arrived in Monday, March 11 on the Canadian North from Ottawa to visit his parents. He was unable to fly out on March 12 and 13 when he went to the airport. The RCMP report he was last seen by a taxi driver who drove him away from the airport on Wednesday, March 13 around lunch time.

“He was at the Legion on Tuesday, March 12 evening until late, then to The Frob(isher Inn) to ask something. He walked to a shelter and he was in the care of the RCMP until Wed morning.

By noon he was missing.”

The posting also suggests that the prints, which were tracked by searchers may not have been Roy’s because they “do not seem a match for sole pattern or shoe size for the new Adidas shoes he was wearing in all sightings and pictures.”

Anyone with any information regarding Roy can contact the Iqaluit RCMP detachment at (867) 979-0123 or, in the event of urgent information, the Nunavut RCMP Dispatch Center at (867) 979-1111.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Heather on

    I’m from Waterloo and have been following the updates closely, and am so sorry to hear this. There are no words to convey the extent of this heartbreak. My prayers are with the family and communities of Iqaluit and Waterloo.

  2. Posted by Resources on

    This is heartbreaking news. I can’t imagine how helpless this young man must have felt.

    What resources and shelter are available for those too young to get into the damp shelter or the men’s shelter?

    • Posted by fam on

      The young man was not helpless. He had a warm house in Iqaluit with two loving parents and he could have gone there at any time. They even transferred him money, but he didn’t accept it.

  3. Posted by Joanne Akikulu on

    Some of the homeless people, they sleep in a boat on winter times, nobody ever wants to sleep on a freezing night’s no wonder this happen.

  4. Posted by Shame on

    Partly, the shelter should take responsibility; they should have allowed him in or at least found him an alternative in this dead of winter, instead of just kicking him out AND the airline for bumping him off. Is it mandatory to not let passengers on after they break the rules (smoking?)? This was so unnecessary.

    • Posted by Unik on

      From what I read in another article, it seems the shelter called the RCMP and he spent the night with them. He didn’t go missing until the next day.

  5. Posted by Naglingnamiik on

    My heart goes out to the parents and family of Ambar Roy. I feel for the young man and wish there had been more supports and appreciation or understanding of his mindset at such a young age, whether it was intoxication or not being allowed to board the plane or enter the damp shelter. God bless, I really hope someday there will be closure for the family.

  6. Posted by i have SOOOO MANY QUESTIONS on

    My heart goes out to the family and any family in Iqaluit who is missing someone and they have not be found. It is TRAGIC and there are no words to explain how terrible this feels.
    I am having a hard time following the timeline of events for this incident and my heart wrenches at what appears to be a young man who is in some kind of distress looking for some solace and was not able to find it.

    Firstly – I understand vaping on the ramp is a violation of airline policy but kicking him off the flight? Was that REALLY NECESSARY? Seriously? Did he get a warning? Why was the solution to kick him off the flight? Sounds like a power trip to me. More details should be given on that. You see a 18 year old traveling by themsleves and you just kick them off the flight?

    Secondly – This man went to the damp shelter. This means something was obviously happening at home why he did not want to go back there. I understand he did not meet the age requirement but what did staff at the damp shelter do to ensure that this young man had a safe place to stay for the night? Did they just TURN HIM AWAY to go back out into the cold??? Did they make an attempt to call his family ? Did they contact the RCMP or Social Services to see what help they could provide to this young man?He is 18! This does not make sense. More details on this is needed.

    Thirdly – it stated that the RMCP had him on Wednesday. Why was he with the RCMP? Was he placed in cells? What did the RCMP do to ensure this young man’s safety after his release? Did they just release him without ensuring he had a safe place to go to? Did they reach out to Social Services to see what support this 18 year could get. Social Services can provide support to young adults. This does not make sense. More details on this is needed.

    I also understand this young man went to Legion. How did he get into the Legion? He is 18 and not at the legal age to drink. They too should be looked into. Maybe he did not drink but the Legion had a duty to ensure this young man did not get in. This could have been a red flag too that he needed help.

    I am really not trying to blame anyone because it is a time of sadness but there are some grey areas that need enlightening. This man was clearly looking for help – he went to the shelter and he was with the RCMP- services mean to help people like this and it still failed. I pray to GOD he will be found as this is truly HORRIFIC!

    • Posted by quietly on

      This nice young man slipped through but it shows what the people here in the north have to live with, actions of the airline is normal here they will go to great lengths in showing “US” who the boss is they came up to PUT people in their place maybe told to, the wet shelter looked “too real” to be good just another place where they can trample on “Other people’s rights” glaring down on other cultures and possibly thinking “this person is not like my siblings” just be normal and act normal and show them the door

    • Posted by notty on

      Are you kidding? Did you read the article and posts from the RCMP and family? For starters, according to this article, the airline told him multiple times that he couldn’t vape on the ramp. If someone isn’t listening to airline staff multiple times on the ramp, the airline cannot let them board, because once they are in the air, there is nothing that they can do if the person continues to ignore safety regulations or harass the staff, etc. That is not something that is unique to northern airlines; it is universal. And as far as the shelter goes, yes, they turned him away from staying there, but they made sure he was safe by calling the RCMP. He was drinking at the Legion all night. The RCMP did the responsible thing by bringing him to the cells. They likely offered to bring him home, but he clearly did not want to be there. You are assuming that no one offered him any help. His parents state that he is “quick thinking and sometimes impulsive, sometimes without considering the consequences.” He, like many impulsive 18 year olds, may have had a prideful streak, and sadly, it was to his own detriment. But it is not his parents’ fault, it is not the airline’s fault, it is not the shelter workers’ fault, and it is not the RCMP’s fault. And if he perhaps had something that was undiagnosed that perhaps led to his series of terrible decisions, fault would not lie with the people for that either. The finger pointing is helping no one, especially this family.

      Why are you bent on blaming people for his actions?

  7. Posted by Nick Peter on

    we all sincerely hope the boy is found .
    its strange anything like this should happen

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