Darnell Gray's mother begs community for help in finding her son

Darnell Gray's mother speaks at a Monday afternoon news conference. Her son has not been seen since Wednesday night. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

UDPATE: Darnell Gray's body was found Tuesday, Oct. 30. For more information, read this story.

"I am the mother of Darnell Gray. . .if you please have any information of my son's whereabouts, can you please come forward?"

The mother of Darnell Gray on Monday asked the public for help in finding her 4-year-old son, who was reported missing Thursday morning.

Speaking briefly at an afternoon news conference, Gray's mother, whose name was not released, said anyone with information about her son should contact authorities as quickly as possible.

Multiple agencies have been searching since Darnell Gray disappeared from a home in the 1100 block of Buena Vista Street sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday. On Monday, Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said as many as 125 or more people from the Highway Patrol, FBI, Cole and Callaway County sheriff's departments and the Jefferson City Police Department were at one point involved in the search. He said police have received calls from as far away as Minneapolis and Chicago asking what can be done to help.

Williams said any civilian volunteers should first contact the Jefferson City Police Department to find out if they are needed. He said police need to control who goes through the search are as much as they can. Among other things, he said if officers find a piece of evidence while in the field and mark it for further investigation, coordinating with police means officers would be able to direct searchers around such areas.

Williams said many people have asked the police department why an AMBER Alert has not been issued. He said the regulations surrounding such alerts are very strict. Among other things, police must have a reasonable belief that an abduction has occurred and that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death. At this point, he said Gray's case does not fit the criteria.

Law enforcement again swept the area surrounding a retention pond at the intersection of Edmonds Street and Linden Way. Williams said police drained the pond to get a better look after a Highway Patrol dive team said they were confident there was nothing there but draining the pond might provide a harder answer. Asked whether police were focusing on any one particular area, he replied, "Our focus is wherever Darnell is."

Darnell was described as a black male, 3 1/2 feet to 4 feet tall and weighing 50 pounds. The child has short hair and is wearing a black and white sleeper with a black coat, Spider-Man shoes and possibly a Black Panther backpack. Williams said the reward for information leading to finding the boy has increased to $11,000.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact the Jefferson City Police Department at (573) 634-6400.

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