UPDATE, 10 p.m.: Volunteers came to Jefferson City on Thursday night to continue the search for Darnell Gray.
People with Missouri Search and Rescue Ground Team and Missouri Missing, groups decicated to helping find missing people, gathered in Washington Park to search the area. Volunteers looked inside trash cans, under bleachers and along the banks of a nearby creek for Gray.
Vanessa Kilby, a Jefferson City resident who also took part in the search for 31-year-old Carl DeBrodie last year in Fulton, said she saw posts on Facebook calling for help.
“I was interested,” Kilby said. “I would hope this community would come together to search for this little boy.”
Marianne Asher-Chapman, co-founder of Missouri Missing, said she planned on organizing another search in the morning if Gray had not been found.
ORIGINAL: An endangered person advisory was issued for a 3-year-old Jefferson City boy Thursday morning. According to Jefferson City police, Darnell S. Gray was reported missing from his home around 7 a.m.
Jefferson City Police Department Capt. Deric Heislen said police received a call from the the missing child’s home.
“He was with a caretaker at that time,” Heislen said.
Heislen said the child’s father also lives at the home but was at work when the child went missing. He said the department sent officers and did an initial search of the home but didn’t find the boy.
Darnell is described as black, about 4 feet tall and weighing about 50 pounds. He has light-colored, short hair, two missing front teeth and Mongolian spots on his back and legs. He was last seen wearing a black and white sleeper, black Mickey Mouse coat, hat and gloves, red spider man Velcro shoes and possibly has a Black Panther backpack.
The boy is believed to have wandered from his home sometime Wednesday evening.
“It’s believed the child exited through the front door of the residence, it’s possible he could have gone out a window, but we are thinking the child walked out the front door. We aren’t sure,” Heislen said.
There was no Amber Alert issued because the boy is not considered to be abducted, which Heislen said was one of the main criteria for an Amber Alert.
A search for Darnell was taking place Thursday. Heislen said the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Cole County Sheriff’s Department are helping city police. He said the search is taking place near the apartment and the surrounding area and that police are concerned for the boy’s safety because of his age, the weather conditions and his health.
“Having a 3-year-old out in this weather is not ideal. We’re not sure of what clothing the child is wearing. A coat, a sleeper, but it is cold,” Heislen said.
Sgt. Scott White with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the patrol sent its helicopter and has people on the ground helping Jefferson City police.
Heislen said they will remain searching until the child is found.
He was last seen Wednesday night when he went to sleep.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Jefferson City Police Department at 573-634-6400.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misstated Gray’s age due to incorrect information provided by the Jefferson City Police Department.