- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

DAVISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Law enforcement officers, others trained in search and rescue operations and bloodhounds completed a day of stepped-up search efforts Wednesday for a 9-year-old autistic boy missing since the weekend at a Flint-area park.

Volunteer searchers were asked to step aside for trained professionals who planned to scour a 5-mile radius in and around the Lake Callis Recreation Complex in Genesee County’s Davison Township for Omarion Humphrey.

Police said the search would continue even as the large-scale effort ended Wednesday evening.

Omarion has been missing since Saturday evening following a gathering at the park with his foster family. Authorities have said he may not speak but answers to the name “Mars.”

About 800 people were taking part Wednesday in the search efforts, including 60 to 80 police dog units. It’s the first time since the search started that “true bloodhounds” were being used in the heavily wooded area, said Davison Township Police Chief Rick Freeman.

Meanwhile, searchers are learning more about autism, he told The Flint Journal.

Authorities have kept the park’s splash pad, pavilion and ball fields lit at night and music has been playing in hopes of coaxing Omarion from hiding if the boy still is in the area.

“We’ve used techniques that you almost think would be silly in some investigations,” Freeman said. “The experts are telling us these are little things - anything we can grab at that might attract his attention.”

But the boy’s birth mother has told WJRT-TV that she no longer believes Omarion is in or near the park.

“I think somebody took him,” Khisha Humphrey said. “I don’t think he’s in the wooded area at all.”

Humphrey said Omarion is one 11 of her children taken earlier this year by the state. The state said she didn’t have adequate housing, Humphrey said.

Police have no evidence Omarion was abducted, but that’s not being ruled out, Freeman said.

“We went into this with an open mind, as we should on any investigation,” he said.

Relatives of the boy have been questioned, and their homes and vehicles searched.

“Not only have we had the army of searchers out that are very visible, we’ve had what I’ll call an army of investigators on the family side of this,” Freeman said.

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