Spotsylvania police have scaled down what had been a massive search for a 3-year-old boy missing for more than a week and now are focusing on tracking specific leads, the county sheriff said.
Since Tyreek Sheamar Davis was reported missing Sept. 29, hundreds of volunteers and rescue personnel have searched woods, rivers and a landfill. The boy was living with his mother, Linette Davis, her boyfriend, Herman L. Black, and three siblings in a motel at the time he disappeared.
Searchers have stopped combing the woods, Spotsylvania Sheriff Harold Smith said yesterday. He said divers spent a third consecutive day focusing on the Rapidan River and its banks. He said he expects the search there to be wrapped up soon and then, he said, deputies will continue searching areas based on tips from possible witnesses.
"Obviously, time is certainly an enemy of ours now," Smith said, adding that the medical examiner estimated that Tyreek could have survived three to five days in the woods.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is working to publicize the case. Nearly 60,000 fliers have been distributed by mail to residents of the area where Tyreek disappeared, said Bill O'Brien, deputy director of the organization's missing children's division. The organization also has helped local authorities and Davis -- giving her a cell phone and financial aid -- through its Team Adam program, named after Adam Walsh, a child abducted and killed in 1981.
Tyreek's mother said she has heard nothing new on the case.
"I know nothing as of now," said Davis, 29. "They're searching where they're going to search, and they're following up on what they're following up on. All I know is what you know."
Black has been at the center of the investigation. The 45-year-old man originally said that he left the child sleeping in his car Sept. 29 while he went to a Fredericksburg Wal-Mart to buy a spark plug and that Tyreek wasn't there when he left the store. Black said he waited a few hours and then picked up Davis from an appointment at court with her sister.
Later, Black changed his story, saying he was cutting wood in western Spotsylvania County and left the boy there while he ran errands and bought drugs.
In previous interviews, Davis has said that she and her four children had a good relationship with Black and that she doesn't believe he harmed Tyreek.
Black is being held in the Rappahannock Regional Jail on a charge of felony child endangerment and two unrelated gun charges.
An endangerment charge originally was brought by Fredericksburg police, who dropped it when Black changed his story, police spokesman Jim Shelhorse said. But Spotsylvania County refiled the case, he said.
Shelhorse said he has a picture of Tyreek in his office.
"You feel like you kind of get to know him," he said. "It's a sad story."