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Police establish tip line for missing child

UPDATE: Jefferson City police announced Monday night that the department established a tip line dedicated to finding Darnell Gray.

In a news release, police encouraged anyone with information to call 573-634-6391.

ORIGINAL: The mother of a missing Jefferson City boy made a plea for anyone with information about her son to call police.

The woman, whose name police refused to release, spoke at a news conference Monday afternoon.

” If you have any information of my son’s whereabouts can you please come forward,” she said as she recited a prepared statement, visibly shaken. “Please. Thank you.”

Police are combing through conversations they’ve had with people close to Darnell Gray as the search for him and the investigation into his disappearance continue.

Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams said at a Monday morning news conference that police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Darnell’s disappearance. Darnell was reported missing last week when his caretaker said he left home sometime in the evening Wednesday into Thursday.

Darnell was with a caretaker and neither of his parents were with him that night, Williams said.

Jefferson City police over the weekend said in a news release that they had gotten some inconsistent statements about Darnell’s disappearance. Police are continuing to scrutinize those statements, he said Monday, but he declined to go into details about them.

“I’ll just tell you that we are looking from the beginning,” Williams said. “This has started over. It never ended, but we’re going back to the beginning to look at every conversation we’ve had with all the people involved in this and we’re looking at what exactly they told us, what they told us the second time, and what they’ve told you, the media.”

“We’re looking at everything, because we don’t want to overlook anything.”

Williams said police are both continuing to search for Darnell and looking into how he disappeared. More than 100 searchers were at a briefing Monday morning, Williams said, including members of the FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Williams said the patrol’s dive team was again searching a pond in Jefferson City on Monday after it was drained Sunday. The reward for information about Darnell has risen to $11,000. He said police would release updates as the search continues.

Williams said Monday afternoon that police had expanded the search area. A command post was set up at Washington Park and searchers are looking back over areas they’ve already been, Williams said.

Gray is about 3 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 50 pounds and is missing his two front teeth. He was last seen wearing a black and white sleeper, black coat, red Spider-Man Velcro shoes and possibly a Mickey Mouse cap.

Police said the boy’s Black Panther backpack was also missing from the home where he was staying, and they believe he took it with him.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Jefferson City Police Department at (573)634-6400) or Crimestoppers at 659-TIPS (659-8477).

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