A KFC employee in Tilbury recognized the five-year-old missing boy in yesterday's Ontario Amber Alert less than two hours after it was issued. The boy was last seen in Mississauga, over 300 kilometres away. The small Ontario town of Tilbury is located just 26.5 kilometres southwest of Chatham-Kent.
Tilbury resident Andrea Taylor told CBC News that she saw little Ethan Montes in the back of a vehicle in the parking lot of her local KFC when she approached the restaurant to pick up her food. The five-year-old was calmly playing with a phone while police cruisers surrounded the parking lot.
When Taylor asked an employee what was going on, it was revealed that the employee had in fact been the one who called police after recognizing the boy in the Amber Alert.
Taylor informed CBC News that the employee confirmed, "They got some food and she said they were sitting and eating, and the mom kept kind of getting up and going to the bathroom and would leave her son in the restaurant kind of thing." She also explained that the employee recalled the woman seemed "a little bit off."
The employee was described as being fairly young, and Taylor praised her for monitoring the amber alert and recognizing the missing boy. "She said to me that it had been a very long day, and I thought that was kind of cute," said Taylor.
Wednesday afternoon, Ethan Montes was picked up by his mother and did not attend school Thursday morning, according to Peel Regional Police. Ethan's father called on police to investigate the case when he couldn't locate his son. Cst. Heather Cannon reported to CBC News, "Along the way, it kind of led us to believe that it might be an abduction."
At approximately 5:10 PM, an Amber Alert was issued. Less than two hours later, at around 6:55 PM, the boy was located, found to be safe and sound.
The general manager of Tilbury's KFC, Mariah Lin, has announced on Facebook that her staff will be commended for finding the missing boy. "My staff members that were working tonight will be receiving a lot of recognition for this, they handled it so well," she wrote.
Cannon reported to CBC News, "I think ultimately with that being said, I think if you look at the end result, it was positive, it actually worked. So the Amber Alert did work this time." So far, no charges have been laid by police.