Family of missing Yakima boy expand search

The family needs volunteers to search for Lucian Munguia, 4, distribute leaflets about missing children.

YAKIMA, Wash. — The search for missing 4-year-old Lucian Munguia took on a different note Wednesday morning as family members took over coordinating law enforcement search efforts — now without drones , tracking dogs or trained search and rescue personnel.

“Right now it’s all down to family, friends and community and we need all the help we can get,” said Lance Ford-Ibanez, a family member coordinating the search effort.

No longer having a fully equipped mobile command post, family members make do with picnic tables, retractable awnings, printed maps and laptops hooked up to a portable generator – plenty of resources, donated by community members.

They have also set up a staging area for food and drink donations to be provided to volunteers who join the search, as well as a station where people can pick up missing children’s flyers with name and location. photo of Lucian on it.

Family members said people could help by searching, handing out missing children flyers or donating supplies needed to help with search efforts. They ask anyone with questions, ideas, available resources or non-emergency advice to email [email protected]

The family asks for help to cover the extended search area for 4-year-old Lucian

Ford-Ibanez said they plan to expand the search area beyond where previous trained teams left off, but will continue to use their makeshift command center next to Sarg’s playground. Hubbard Park.

“We’re looking for experienced hikers…because there’s tough terrain, there’s brush and thick vegetation that needs to be looked at,” Ford-Ibanez said.

Ford-Ibanez said he was asking volunteers to park in the parking lot next to the Sarg Hubbard Park sign and to reserve the lot next to the playground for family, friends and others helping coordinate the search. .

“Then come find me and Trevor and from there we can delegate exactly where we’re looking,” Ford-Ibanez said. “That way there is no confusion.”

Ford-Ibanez said volunteers will be led in groups by a family member or close family friend so they aren’t searching alone. He said people can come for half an hour, half a day or as long as they are willing to help with the search.

He said they needed walkie-talkies or radios to help search teams stay in touch with their makeshift command center, as well as reflective vests, flashlights and other supplies to help volunteers to stay safe.

“It’s great that the mom and dad paid attention to what we were doing and that they were organized, which is great,” said Casey Schilperoort, spokesperson for the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities began pulling resources from the search on Tuesday after teams and personnel across the state were unable to locate Lucian, despite repeated use of specialized equipment to search the area.

“We’ve searched all these places two, three, four times and we can’t find any evidence, we can’t find any clues,” Schilperoort said. “We can’t find anything from Lucian anywhere. So we stop. »

However, Schilperoort said that could change with new information. He said that’s why it’s important for people to report any urgent advice by calling 911, especially if someone thinks they’ve found Lucian.

Yakima County Sheriff’s Office shares recommendations and tips for civilian investigators

Schilperoort said that with any research effort, there is some risk to those involved, but they can stay safer if they follow a few guidelines, such as:

  • Check with family to see where they need help searching and to make sure they know you’re there, and check before you go so they know you’re out safely.
  • Have some sort of communication with you, whether it’s a walkie-talkie, radio, or cell phone.
  • Don’t go searching alone and even if you’re with a group, make sure someone else knows where you are and where you’re headed at all times in case you get in trouble.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and don’t go where you don’t feel safe or where you risk injury.
  • Bring water and a snack with you as you don’t know how long you might be looking for and if it takes longer than expected you might need it.
  • Make sure you know how to take regular breaks so you don’t overwork and burn out.
  • Dress for the weather: although it can get warmer during the day, it starts to get cooler and it gets a little windy at night.

“We advise people not to search at night; however, we realize there will be people who will,” Schilperoort said.

Schilperoort said if you’re searching at night, be sure to bring flashlights, extra batteries, and dress in reflective clothing if possible, or at least something light-colored if not.

“You are looking for a 4-year-old child who is probably thirsty, probably hungry; maybe he’s really tired,” Schilperoort said. “We don’t know if he’s crouching somewhere. We don’t know where he is.

Spread the word by handing out flyers, making posters of missing children

For anyone unable to join the search, the family is asking for help distributing flyers across the city and beyond, putting them up in corners, on streetlights, at local businesses with their permission or wherever they will be seen.

KAPP-KVEW contacted City of Yakima spokesperson Randy Beehler, who said that generally speaking, flyers and posters should not be placed on sign posts, fences in city parks, trees in city parks and rights of way, or street lights and traffic sign posts.

“In this unique case, however, the city will not remove any missing boy flyers or signs if they are placed in any of these locations,” Beehler said.

Missing children flyers with Lucian’s name and photo can be picked up 24/7 from the family’s base of operations next to the Sarg Hubbard Park playground.

Lucian’s aunt, Angela Flores, said they would also send volunteers Thursday so the community can pick up flyers outside Yakima Valley College and the Meadowbrook Family Fun Center, from 10 a.m. until their exhaustion.

“I love my my nephew?” You know, I believe in God – that he’s going to bring it,” Flores said. “We believe he’s safe, you know?” We just believe we’ll find it, so please help us do it too.

Another of Lucian’s aunts, Makayla Huckabee, said another way people can help is to donate to the GoFundMe set up for the family. Above all, she said the money will go to resources to help bring Lucian home.

“We have contacted K9 units, additional dive teams, and so this money will be used to bring them in to do their investigations,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee said they will also use it for materials they need to help with the search, such as batteries for flashlights or work gloves that volunteers will use to move the brush around during their search.

“Also, we realized in this unimaginable scenario that so many people in our community parks are unprotected, unsupervised,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee said that’s why any money left over from the research will be donated to help add additional safety measures to local parks.

“Making sure there is good quality monitoring in case something this terrible happens again, in the hope that it never happens again,” Huckabee said. “But that’s one of the main goals for parents is that they want to be sure to go ahead, the other children are protected in this situation.”

Huckabee said while they still want big tips and information on any potential sightings to go directly to 911. However, any recommendations on search areas or questions about how people can help s ‘involve can be sent to [email protected]

“Honestly, we’re really grateful for all the extra people who came out,” Huckabee said. “We really appreciate all the help the community has given us.”

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Brandon D. James