- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 6, 2004

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — For the eighth consecutive day, authorities combed through a wooded area yesterday searching for a 3-year-old boy missing for more than a week after an outing with his mother’s boyfriend.

A search party of more than 170 people continued to look for Tyreek Davis, who has not been seen since Sept. 29 when Herman Lee Black, 45, took him to chop wood near a relative’s house on Granite Springs Road.

Mr. Black has been charged with neglect in the boy’s disappearance.

“Since this morning we’ve had more than 170 searchers over a three-quarter-mile radius looking for the boy, shoulder to shoulder, some of the searchers were on their hands and knees,” Spotsylvania County Sheriff Howard D. Smith said. “We’re following up on several leads from the public and searching different locations throughout the county.”

Sheriff Smith said the search will continue through the night until authorities believe the area has been sufficiently searched.

Authorities used all-terrain-vehicles, horses, and cadaver dogs in their search, which has been conducted with the help of multiple agencies including the FBI and the U.S. Marine Corps.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) helped police narrow down the search area based on Tyreek’s age and statistics from previous missing children’s cases.

“A search for a 3-year-old must be done very methodically and very thoroughly,” said Lee Manning, with the NCMEC’s Rapid Response team. “Generally a child at 3 years of age may not be aware that they are lost and can’t find their way back home.”

The search initially centered on a 7-mile radius equaling about 4,000 acres, but was narrowed down to a three-quarter-mile area. The rural countryside is dotted with streams, ponds, patches of deep woods and old, crumbling barns and buildings.

Water searches also were conducted after authorities received several tips, Sheriff Smith said.

Authorities have been concerned with potential dehydration or Tyreek potentially drowning while trying to drink from a lake, pond, or river.

“But there are lots of puddles and springs that he could drink from [safely],” Mr. Manning said.

Mr. Black, who lived with Tyreek’s mother and her children in Carmel Church, is being held without bond.

He initially told police that he had left Tyreek asleep in his pickup truck while he went to a Wal-Mart in Fredericksburg. When he returned, he said, Tyreek was gone.

However, Mr. Black on Monday night told police he had mistakenly left the boy in the woods when he went to lunch and later to buy and use drugs.

“We don’t know whether we’re being told the truth or not,” said Maj. Michael Timm of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Still, he said the search continued with “the mind-set we are going to locate this child.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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