NYPD continues to investigate the death of two boys who were reported missing, calls on the public for information

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Photo by Dean Moses

NYPD top brass provided details on Wednesday regarding the timeline leading up to the deaths of two missing boys whose bodies were recovered from two New York rivers this month, while also asking for the public’s help in their ongoing investigation.

Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, went missing on May 12 and were last seen in Harlem on video that day, before their bodies were found about a week later. Police were able to piece together their every move until later that evening. Police say that there was a 14-minute window around 7 p.m. where things become unclear that they believe could be key to their investigation.

“What happens in that 14 minutes, if there is video out there, which we think there might be, we want to see it,” Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a press conference Wednesday.

According to Essig, Barrie was dismissed from Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School at around 12:50 p.m. before meeting up with Warren. The pair hung out together in various locations from 3:30 to 5:55 p.m. in Harlem.

At around 6:41 p.m. the boys were then spotted riding a Citibike before meeting up with a third boy. Then all three kids were apparently seen proceeding eastbound on 143 Street toward 5th Avenue. 

“From 6:43 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. we tracked the three boys over the pedestrian footbridge [by Brigadier General Charles Young Playground]. Two of the kids are seen climbing over a fence going towards the water. This video is from a distance,” Essig said. This footage was the last they have of the missing boys.

“The next time we observe anyone is 7:04 p.m., 14 minutes later.”

While it seems the third unnamed child wandered off by himself and entered the park, Barrie and Warren were apparently observed by a group of kids who told a passerby they saw the boys pushing one another before they fell into the water. The man called 911 according to police and relayed what he was told by the other children.

Chief of Detectives James Essig (left) The Commanding Officer of the Harbor Unit Inspector Anthony Russo (right). Photo by Dean Moses

It is currently unknown if the boys had some kind of argument, if they had simply been horsing around, or if something else led them to fall that Friday. Essig is calling on anyone who may have videoed or seen what happened to come forward to police and promised that the NYPD would not be reprimanding witnesses for not having spoken up sooner. 

Barrie’s uncle, Ahmadou Diallo, said during a vigil on Tuesday that he is searching for answers and is begging for closure, something the NYPD say they are working to provide.

“We want to find out exactly what occurred on that river. We owe that to the family for closure,” Essig said.

Barrie wasn’t reported missing until Sunday, May 14 by his sister, while the police were not notified of Warren’s disappearance until his mother reported it on Monday, May 15. Police canvassed nearby buildings, parks, and the shoreline while interviewing those nearby soon after. On May 18, at 10:25 a.m. Warren’s body was recovered at Madison Avenue Bridge in the Harlem River. Two days later on May 20 at 6:50 a.m. the body of Barrie was recovered from the Hudson River at 102 Street and Riverside Drive.

The Commanding Officer of the Harbor Unit Inspector Anthony Russo believes that the boys were found in different locations because of their varying weights and the current of the river. Warren was significantly larger than Barrie.

Essig asked anyone who may have information to call Crimestoppers at one 800-577-tips.

“We know that kids take video, they post video, they stream video on social media. If anyone has seen any video or heard of any video, please contact us,” Essig said.