FBI, Homeland Security, Texas EquuSearch join search for missing Grimes County boy
Officials have complete five rounds of ground searching around the family’s home, including a pond that’s been drained, and still have not found any clues to what happened to Christopher Ramirez.
PLANTERSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - The Grimes County Sheriff said in a news conference Thursday night the desperate search for Christopher Ramirez remains a rescue operation but investigators are hitting roadblocks at every corner and there is still no sign of the 3-year-old.
“We’re very, very concerned,” said Sheriff Don Sowell. “But let’s be clear we’re still looking for that young man. This is still a rescue, not a recovery.”
“We have just finished about the fifth round of ground searches with dogs, manpower, and aerial sources. We have not found anything. We had a couple of areas where dogs have picked up scents but we have gone over, and over and over that area,” said Sowell.
An estimated 150 law enforcement officials from federal state and local agencies are working in shifts to search acres of land around the family’s home. The FBI, Homeland Security, and Texas Rangers are also helping.
That’s in addition to other search and rescue teams that are looking inside homes in the neighborhood, surveillance cameras, above-ground pools, sheds, and a near-two square mile area of the Foxfire subdivision east of FM 1774 near Plantersville.
“We have drained one pond of interest that might have been a concern but the child was not found there. That’s good news. And we searched two other nearby ponds,” said Sowell.
Sheriff Sowell says search teams are now coming up with a Plan B for the evening which will include teams still searching the area throughout the night and a new wave of searchers will be brought on Friday morning.
Investigators have said there’s still no evidence of any foul play involved, although the child’s mother said to the media Thursday that she believes her son has been abducted.
Araceli Nunez said it took about two minutes for her to realize her son had run off as she and the child’s grandmother were unloading a van Wednesday afternoon in the driveway of the family’s home on Deer Park Lane. She said a neighbor saw the child wandering off with the family dog and she went after him but lost sight of him.
After 15 - 20 minutes of searching the area, the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office was called.
Sheriff Sowell says part of the investigation includes background checks, fact-checking all witness accounts, claims, alibis, and searching through family cell phone and social media pages.
Officials have used search dogs, drones, helicopters, and numerous search teams to look over as much land as possible around the neighborhood - up to nearly a two-square-mile radius. Sheriff Sowell said teams were going back to square one and retracing their steps, interviewing neighbors, searching their homes, and reviewing security footage from cameras of nearby homes.
And still nothing.
“We’ve not had any 9-1-1 calls, no Crimestoppers tips, no snitching from the underworld at this point,” said Sowell. “Everything is fitting in place but we have not found the boy. And that’s just the facts of it at this point. Still, we’re not going to leave until we find him.
“We know where he’s not,” said Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch. “While we remain hopeful we know that time is not on our side.”
Miller has a team that’s assisting with the search and made a plea Thursday night for everyone in that area to call in and report any kind of unusual activity that anyone might have seen Wednesday prior to Ramirez’s disappearance.
“We’re in this together, we’re in this for the long haul and I believe God has worked many miracles in our life before and we’re asking him for one more here,” said Miller.
At the moment the sheriff’s office says there is enough manpower and volunteers at the scene and additional volunteers are not needed at the moment.
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