Four fresh dog teams failed to pick up a whiff Tuesday of Jaryd Atadero, missing since Saturday in the rugged 9,000-foot-high mountains west of Fort Collins. Fear for the child's safety was growing by the hour.
Search crews are putting out a statewide call for help but the sheriff is only allowing trained search and rescue teams to join in the search. He says he's treating this area as a crime scene and he doesn't want untrained searchers to damage clues. But so far, there have been very few clues leading to where Jaryd may be found, reports Correspondent Jennifer Miller of CBS Station KCNC-TV in Denver.
Jaryd was reportedly running up the trail in order to hide behind boulders and trees so he could jump out from his hiding place and say "Boo."
Somewhere around 11 a.m. Saturday, he split away from the group of friends he was hiking with and ran into two fishermen along the Poudre River, Larimer County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Gordon said Tuesday.
"He asked them if there were bears in the woods," Gordon said.
The fishermen's account is the only trace discovered in four days of searching the area for the lost boy.
The fishermen, who Gordon did not identify, described a makeshift walking stick that Jaryd was carrying.
A searcher Tuesday afternoon took the boy's father, Allyn Atadero, 41, up the trail to the spot where his son was last seen by members of the hiking group.
|Three-year-old Jaryd Atadero|
"I haven't lost hope," he said choking back tears, "but it's a major task still, and I think I may never ever see my son again."
"Jaryd is a very strong, mobile kid. If he sees that rock way up on the top there and he thinks he can get there, he'll get there," Atadero said.
"We are checking under every rock and every log and making sure we look everywhere the little boy could be," said Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden.
The sheriff said the possibility of an abduction had been considered but it remains "an extremely remote possibility."
"Everybody is puzzled and frustrated, we should have found him by now," Alderden said.
"The longer it goes, unfortunately, the less possible it is that the child is alive," said Lt. Bill Nelson, who is overseeing the search.
"We are still holdin out a shred of hope that he's out there," Nelson said. "There are other instances where children have survived a couple of days."
The child's mother, Stacie McKissick, said, "We are strong believers and if this is God's will we can accept that. But we do have hope and we do know that God works miracles, I'd like to keep hope. I do have a strong belief in God."
She flew to the search scene from San Diego. Jaryd lives with his father in the Denver suburb of Littleton.
Divers again searched the shallow waters in the South Fork of the Poudre River beneath the rocky ridges.
Atadero disappeared in an instant in terrain so rocky the search dogs have to wear pads to protect their feet. It was a few minutes before anyone noticed the boy was gone.