Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#AliayahLunsford : Search For Little Aliayah Expands

The search  for Aliayah Lunsford is continuing as though she is still alive.  Volunteers are still on scene and searching the woods, while the police search is stepping up a little bit.

Throughout the search efforts, the Sheriff's Department, State Police, the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and representatives from the National Missing and Exploited Children have all been involved.  The goal of these agencies is to work together to find little Aliayah.

"That morning, mother checked in on her at 6:30, child went back to sleep, and at 9 or 9:30, child was missing," Sgt. Michael Posey says of the description he received from the family.
For now, investigators believe Aliayah is still in the area.

"Until we get something leading us into a different direction, we're going to continue to search this area and it will be continued to be investigated as a missing child until we get a clue leading us elsewhere," Sgt. Posey says.

While volunteers and local police will continue to look around the Bendale area, a special team is coming with the FBI.

"It is not something that happens every day, so, having someone that's experienced in these types of cases, who has insight into things that we don't want to overlook, simply because we don't do it every day," says Special Agent John Hambrick.

The FBI will focus on an area near her home.

"I've got us a search team that is going to do a grid search that is very precise," says Hambrick.
And local fire departments are stretching their searches to other bodies of water.

"We're trying to spread our search around into possible areas. Anything that, where, theoretically, somebody could be missing or hidden, that's where we're looking," explains retired Weston Fire Chief Michael Young.

A human remains dog was brought in but hinted at nothing. The departments are using sonars to search in the water, muddied from recent rains.

"We're trying to utilize and find more of these side scan sonars. The technology is very good," Young  says.

While the search continues, investigators keep questioning Aliayah's family.

"We have talked to the parents, they have cooperated fully," says Sgt. Posey.

The FBI has set up a mobile command center near the Bendale United Methodist Church.

Additional professional search teams are on their way. 

The church will now be open 24 hours a day during the duration of the search.