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Missing 2-year-old sought in Searcy

by Gavin Lesnick | November 24, 2014 at 6:22 a.m. | Updated November 24, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.
Volunteers gather Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, at West Park and South Maple avenues in Searcy in the search for missing 2-year-old Malik Drummond.

SEARCY — Dozens of searchers combed the neighborhoods around the home where a 2-year-old child disappeared Sunday, searching for any sign of the toddler who is believed to have wandered away from his home.

A Morgan Nick Amber Alert was issued earlier for 2-year-old Malik Drummond, who police say walked away from the home near the 700 block of West Park Avenue about 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Authorities responded about 45 minutes later and the level 2 alert was issued early Monday after initial search efforts in the area were unsuccessful.

Malik was wearing brown pants and a blue shirt, police said, adding that he is black, stands about 3 feet tall, weighs 40 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. He is also autistic, authorities said.

Cpl. Steve Hernandez, spokesman for the Searcy Police Department, said Monday morning that no foul play is suspected in the toddler's disappearance. In a news conference early Monday afternoon, Chief Jeremy Clark said every possibility was being investigated.

"Any scenario that you can think of, we've thought of," he told reporters, calling a missing child a "worst nightmare" for police. "I have nothing to base foul play suspicion on. But all avenues are being pursued because we still have a missing child."

Malik was home with his father and stepmother when he disappeared. Clark said one of the parents was asleep and the other was giving another child a bath while Malik and his twin sibling were in the living room.

"When they returned, the child was gone," he said.

Clark also confirmed that the FBI is assisting the investigation and said the search area had been extended farther "than I initially would think a 2-year-old child would wander off."

Volunteers gathered shortly after 9 a.m. near the house to begin combing the area and were continuing the effort as the day progressed. Groups went in opposite directions, peeking under exposed crawl spaces, walking through backyards and checking behind bushes and in overgrown grass.

One woman crawled on her on stomach underneath a porch, using her cellphone flashlight to clear the area. Another man sifted through the wreckage of a demolished home that sits just across the street from where Malik disappeared. But there was still no sign of him as the search continued.

Hernandez said officials were hopeful that daylight would give searchers an advantage over the previous searches overnight.

"I don't want to say [it's] a panic," Hernandez said. "But we know with the elements outside and the area, we know that time is not on our side so much. We really do want to find this child. We're putting all efforts we have into it."

Among the dozens of searchers who gathered Monday morning was Lynn Smith, a Cabot resident who learned of the disappearance on the news. Smith, 61, carried around an electronic snowman that played Christmas music and some extra blankets, hoping the holiday tunes would draw the boy out of hiding and the blankets would provide needed warmth.

"It breaks my heart," she said, walking down a nearby street and looking for signs of Malik. "Because my feet are freezing right now and he's been out here all night long."

Anyone with information or who believes they may have spotted the boy should call police at (501) 268-3531.

Photo by Searcy Police Department
Malik Drummond

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