Volunteers in W.Va. Press Search for Missing Boy With AM-Lost Girl
KIRBY, W.Va. (AP) _ Three dozen people just won’t give up.
A small band of volunteers continued looking for a missing 5-year-old boy Friday even though authorities had called off the search.
Victor D. Shoemaker Jr. disappeared Sunday while playing with two cousins in the woods around their grandfather’s mobile home.
After five days of looking in rainy weather with overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, officials halted the search.
More than 350 volunteers, tracking dogs and a helicopter with a heat-sensor imaging device had found no sign of the child in the rugged woods about 90 miles west of Washington, D.C.
″I don’t feel we’re leaving a boy out there,″ said David Carter, chairman of the Charlottesville, Va.-based Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference.
″If a hunter finds him in the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks, it would surprise me.″
But Bob Walker, chief of the Augusta Volunteer Fire Department, was among about three dozen volunteers who refused to give up.
″It’s hard for the community to just up and forget the fact that a 5-year- old boy is missing,″ Walker said Friday.
Authorities have not ruled out foul play, but have no clues to suggest the child was abducted or killed.
″If anybody was hurt, shot, stabbed, whatever, there would have been blood,″ said state police Sgt. Bucky Burner. ″If they were on the ground, there would have been scents. There was nothing.″
The boy’s parents, Victor Sr. and Nettie of Leesburg, Va., have declined comment.
The boy disappeared after telling his two cousins, ages 8 and 9, that he wanted to go home, police said.
Mrs. Shoemaker contacted police within an hour of the child’s disappearance and crews began searching almost immediately in the town of 30 people.
Lynette Glass and her husband drove four hours with nine teen-agers from a private school in Pennsboro to help in the search Friday.
″We were concerned and the students are interested in helping as much as they can,″ she said. ″We still have hope he might be alive.″