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Search Resumes for Missing Boy

May 15, 1994

AUGUSTA, W.Va. (AP) _ Five-year-old Victor Shoemaker Jr. is presumed dead two weeks after he disappeared into the woods, but 100 National Guardsmen resumed searching Saturday for some sign of him, if not his body.

The search, resumed after a nine-day hiatus, focused on a 1 1/2 square mile area near the mobile home of Victor’s grandfather, where he was visiting when he disappeared May 1.

Guard members sought easy routes the boy may have taken in the steep, rocky hills, ravines and cliffs, state police Sgt. Bucky Burner said. They were to cover 20 square miles by Sunday night, double what was originally searched.

Saturday’s search last nearly 10 hours without turning up any leads.

More than 400 volunteers aided by heat-sensing equipment found no sign of the child in the search called off May 5. Smaller searches have been conducted by family and volunteers.

Authorities believe Victor is dead. He disappeared while playing with two cousins, ages 8 and 9, in the woods around the home. The cousins told authorities they lost track of Victor after he said he wanted to go home and walked away.

Nighttime temperatures in the region plunged into the 30s in the days after the disappearance. Victor was dressed only in a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers.

Foul play had not been ruled out, but state police had no evidence to support an abduction or murder.