Sniffer dogs and volunteers from Sydney were due to arrive on the mid-north coast of NSW on Monday to help search for three-year-old William Tyrell, who has been missing for four days.
William was last seen outside his grandmother’s Kendall home wearing a Spider-Man suit about 10.30am on Friday. A full-scale search throughout the weekend found no sign of the boy and police said resources from around the state, including Sydney, would arrive on Monday morning to bolster efforts.
His family have been too distressed to speak publicly but a family friend who wanted to be known only as Nicole told media on Sunday they were “desperate”.
“He is a much-loved, cherished little boy,” she said, according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
“The family are desperate to have him home so if anyone out there has seen this little boy, knows anything about William, where is he is, we urge you to please contact police.”
The search has already involved hundreds of volunteers including the state emergency service (SES), rural fire service (RFS), people from the surf lifesaving club as well police sniffer dogs and mounted police.
Police divers arrived on Saturday to search dams in a 10km area.
“As time goes on, obviously the survival diminishes,” Superintendent Paul Fehon told Network Ten over the weekend.
“After three days looking for a young person, I think it’s fair to say we would have liked to have located something at this stage.”
Local police inspector Kim Fehon said Sunday was a “critical day” in the search as Tyrell was likely to have gone without food and water for days.
He said he had briefed search teams to look in places where Tyrell could have curled up to hide.
Jenny Atkins, a senior instructor at the Camden Haven Pony Club who joined the search, said the volunteers’ mood was “pretty down” and “worried”.
“We’ve had riders going out helping on horseback looking through the thick scrub,” she said.
Since the search began the close-knit community had rallied around William’s grandmother, Atkins said.
“Everyone’s feeling for her,” she said. “Our community does support each other, we’re very rural.”