Sheriff confirms boy spotted near border is not missing toddler
A 3-year-old boy named Christopher was spotted in Brewster County, but investigators and mother say he is not missing toddler
PLANTERSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - As investigators head into day three of the search for Christopher Ramirez, the missing 3-year-old from Plantersville, they’re frustrated that few tips have come in.
Christopher went missing Wednesday afternoon after he chased a dog into the woods and never returned. During a Friday afternoon press conference Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said there still wasn’t any new information.
Sowell did confirm that all of Christopher’s immediate family members are now excluded as persons of interest in the case.
“The family, immediate family and the extended family have been excluded as any persons of interest,” said Sowell.
During the day’s search Sowell said they received a tip from someone in Brewster County saying they spotted a 3-year-old named Christopher. Border Patrol and the local county sheriff’s office were able to pull the vehicle over, but the child was not Christopher Ramirez, according to Sowell.
“I was hoping to come with that and give you all some good news,” said Sowell. “Sadly I just got off the phone with some colleagues down there at the border patrol, pictures were given to the mother [Araceli Nunez] of the child and she verified that it was not her child.”
Sowell said the tip lifted their spirits for about an hour and a half, until Nunez said the child wasn’t her son.
“We had a glimmer of hope for a while there,” said Sowell.
During a Friday morning press conference, Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said a night of searching did not yield any new information.
“I’ll be honest with you folks, at this moment I have absolutely no leads to give you. We have no leads to go on [that we didn’t have] yesterday,” said Sowell.
Sowell confirmed to KBTX that Christopher’s stepdad is a registered sex offender, but authorities have checked the stepdad out and verified that he was in the Houston area at the time Christopher went missing. Christopher’s biological father lives in Mexico, Sowell also confirmed, and while he or any other family members are not considered persons of interest, the Mexican Consulate has offered its assistance.
“Part of our team, I said, is investigators working on criminal issues of interest, possible persons of interests,” said Sowell. “We’ve got federal and international partners helping us in case there’s any connection across the southern border.”
The sheriff expressed great frustration over the lack of tips the sheriff’s office and other agencies have received.
“We are not getting any tips like to our 911 or dispatch center. We’re not getting any tips from Grimes County Crime Stoppers. We’re not getting any tips on any Facebook or any other related social media types of systems,” said Sowell.
The lack of tips, while frustrating, is also unusual. Law enforcement often get bombarded with calls during cases like this, according to Sowell. He urged anyone who might have seen something suspicious, or just out of the ordinary, to call the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office at 936-873-2151.
“It’s disappointing that we don’t have anything to go on. If you saw anything suspicious that might be 5 miles away, let us know and we’ll follow up on it. We haven’t had that many leads, factual leads to follow up on. Most of the time on things like this you get deluged with them, just hundreds of leads, hundreds of calls, we have very few, if any,” said Sowell.
The search for Christopher will be expanding slightly outside of the grid agencies have been working for the past two days. Two ponds have been completely drained and nothing was found, according to law enforcement.
“We are slightly expanding [the search] just a little bit past the subdivision, and with the grid slightly expanding a little bit,” said Sowell. “We may expand it some more if we have reason to believe an area needs to be checked out.”
The woods that Christopher ran off into are thick and it’s easy to miss something, said Tim Miller, founder and director of EquuSearch.
“Unfortunately as thick as everything is out here we’ve got to do everything three and four times,” said Miller.
Miller said sometimes it can take search crews several passes over the same section to find a tiny piece of evidence. Although it may look like not much ground is being covered to the public, crews said they are meticulously searching every nook and cranny for any bit of evidence that can lead to the toddler.
“We know where he’s not, and as long as we know where he’s not we’ve got that hope we’re going to find out where he is and that he’s ok,” said Miller.
According to Miller, search crews are no where near running out of options for Christopher yet.
“We’re here until we find him or until that day comes that we’ve exhausted every single resource and have nothing else. But I can guarantee that we’re not close to that yet,” said Miller.
With multiple agencies and search crews on the ground, Sheriff Sowell said they do not need civilian volunteers to help search at this time.
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