The search for Noah Chamberlin continues in West Tennessee, but as the hunt for the missing 2-year-old approaches the one-week point, frustration appears to be building for search crews. Authorities may be investigating whether foul play was involved.
Chamberlin went missing last Thursday afternoon while on a nature walk with his grandmother and older sister. Noah’s grandmother said she turned her attention to Noah’s sister for a moment and when she looked back, the boy was gone, WCM Action News 5 reported.
In the days that followed, thousands of volunteers combed the woods, with search leaders even sending the volunteers home for a stretch over the weekend so that certified law enforcement officers could comb the woods.
— WREG News Channel 3 (@3onyourside) January 18, 2016
The search has grown more desperate as this week began, with more than 300 volunteers showing up on Monday to brave cold and wet conditions to look for the boy. Despite sub-freezing temperatures, officials are still “keeping the faith” that Noah might be found alive, said Leslie Weaver with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.
Weaver told NBC News that “thousands” of volunteers have participated in the search for the young boy since he went missing while hiking in the woods with his grandmother and sister on Thursday.
But as the search for Noah Chamberlin stretches on, frustration is building at the lack of any progress in finding the lost 2-year-old.
“The frustrating side, the bewildering side, is that we’ve found nothing,” said Deputy Sheriff Tom Mapes with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. “All this manpower, all the technical, infrared sightings, hundreds of volunteers going arm-to-arm through all these acres. Nothing, absolutely nothing.”
There have been hitches in the search process as well. Over the weekend, authorities had to halt the search after a handful of volunteers went missing. They were later found.
Chester County Sheriff Blair Weaver has repeated several times that officials do not suspect foul play, noting that Noah’s family has been very cooperative throughout the search. But at the same time, there are indications that investigators could be looking into other factors, including reports that the FBI is looking into Noah’s disappearance.
— Kristin Leigh (@Fox13Kristin) January 19, 2016
Weaver had remained hopeful throughout the search, saying he believes the boy remains within the search area.
“At this point, nothing matters except Noah,” he said.
Weaver added that there have been more than 200 agencies involved and that police have called on neighbors to check their sheds, cars, or anywhere else a 2-year-old boy might be able to hide. He is beginning to show signs of weariness as well, noting that the search has been draining for all those involved.
“I’m tired,” Weaver said Monday morning. “It’s not frustration, it’s we’re tired. We’ve been out 70 hours, Sheriff Mehr and myself, before we went home. We have dedication to find Noah and we have a faith and belief that we’re going to find him. We’re doing everything possibly human to find him.”
Officials have maintained that their effort is still a “search and rescue” mission, but that could change. Weaver was nearing a decision on Tuesday whether to continue asking volunteers to search for Chamberlin, especially in the brutally cold conditions, WBBJ-TV reported.
Anyone with information on the disappearance or who has seen Noah Chamberlin is asked to call the Chester County Sheriff’s Office at (731) 989-2787 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
[Image via Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Facebook]