The search for Jesse Wilson has reached into its second day, and the FBI is now joining in the hunt for the 10-year-old boy who vanished after sneaking out of his suburban Phoenix home.
Police said the boy left through his bedroom window on Sunday night, prompting his mother to report him missing on Monday. His mother told police that the boy had left home before, but never remained out for an extended period, CBS News reported.
The exact circumstances of Wilson’s disappearance is not yet known, and police said they have not ruled out the possibility of foul play. A report from 12 News noted that police questioned Jesse’s mother on Wednesday and said she may be questioned again, but police have not officially named anyone as a suspect.
Agents were also seen removing bags of evidence from the family’s home, KPHO reported.
The search for Jesse Wilson has the help of hundreds of volunteers, who spent the day on Wednesday canvassing neighborhoods and the desert near the boy’s home in the town of Buckeye. Police told 12 News that they were able to cover roughly two-thirds of the search area on Wednesday, but it was not clear if they found any clues as to his whereabouts
Volunteers said they hoped to find some sign that would point to the boy’s location.
“We’re working on looking for any clues that would help us find Jesse Wilson,” volunteer Marylu Lopez told NBC affiliate KPNX. “I’m a mom of five and I think that one more pair of eyes will always make a difference.”
Many of the volunteers were parents themselves, saying they felt drawn to help the lost boy.
“I can’t even imagine the feeling of having a lost child… the uncertainty of the outcome,” Charles Brown, a father of two from Buckeye, told AzCentral. “Hopefully this (situation) will turn out fine.”
Local news video showed volunteers loading into school buses that took them to the search locations. Police also asked for people with experience hiking in the more difficult terrain who could complete searches in these areas.
But the search for Jesse Wilson was complicated this week by the hot and humid conditions around Phoenix. Temperatures reached 110 degrees on Thursday and were expected to be even hotter going into the weekend, adding new difficulties for volunteers along with a heightened sense of urgency to find the boy.
The search for Jesse Wilson has become national news, with many major media outlets covering the hunt for the boy as it reached its second day. The story also mirrored another missing person mystery playing out more than 1,500 miles away in northwestern Ohio, where 20-year-old Sierah Joughin vanished after an evening bike ride with her boyfriend.
Police found that Joughin’s cell phone pinged near the Michigan border, and they found her bicycle close to a nearby cornfield with signs of a disturbance.
Family members said they are fearing that Sierah may have been taken against her will.
“We are struggling and trying to stay hopeful,” Joughin’s aunt told People magazine. “We just want her to come home safe and [whoever has her] to just leave her where she is and let us have her back.”
Police have not yet released information about how Jesse Wilson could have gone missing, not saying whether they believe he may have been abducted or if he wandered off on his own.
Wilson is described as an African-American boy who is 4 feet tall and 60 pounds. He was last seen wearing shorts and a red shirt with black shoes and black socks.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Jesse Wilson is asked to call Buckeye Police at 623-349-6400.
[Image via Buckeye Police Department]