MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities pastor came to the defense of a missing boy’s father.
It’s been nearly three weeks since 10-year-old Barway Collins was last seen on a surveillance video outside his apartment building in Crystal. Police named Pierre Collins, the boy’s father, as a suspect in the case.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Pastor Harding Smith spoke on the father’s behalf. He says the community is turning on the family, when they should be focusing on finding Barway.
“This man has been charged and found guilty already in the minds of most people,” Pastor Smith said.
Pierre Collins and his wife Yamah stood quietly behind the pastor as he tried to address some tough questions surrounding Barway’s disappearance.
Still, one of the biggest questions in the case still remains: why Barway says, in school bus video footage, that he sees his father and uncle from the window. Pierre Collins says he wasn’t there, but it’s still unclear where he was at the time police say his son disappeared.
Pastor Smith declined to comment on the evidence during the press conference.
Several volunteer and police searches have focused around the Mississippi River, where police got a tip Pierre Collins was seen that day.
The family has helped with previous search parties for their son.
Suspicion still looms, the pastor says, after Pierre Collins failed a lie detector test and rumors swirled that he took out a life insurance policy on Barway.
“The insurance policies were taken over three years ago, and were taken on all four of his children,” Pastor Smith said.
Questions, and some unclear answers, remain, but the pastor says the goal is to keep up the difficult dialogue until Barway is found.
“He’s our treasure. He belongs to the community. He belongs to this family,” the pastor said.
Barway’s ex-stepmother has also said Pierre Collins abused her children in the past, though Collins has long denied the allegation.