The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office on Wednesday called off the active underwater search for Ellis Baudean, the 4-year-old boy believed to have disappeared six days ago in a swampy canal at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, they say.
The search for Ellis will now be a passive one, they say, meaning that officials may have to wait until his body surfaces. The department will not deploy any additional divers or boats to the canal, Lopinto said.
The decision comes after a temporary earthen dam built to help drain a 500-foot section of the swamp failed on Tuesday night. Officials had hoped that draining the area would give them a better chance to find the four-year-old's body in the dark and debris-choked water.
"We always knew it was a longshot," Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said of the canal-draining plan. "It wasn't a Corps of Engineers-designed project. We utilized the equipment we had in front of us and the volunteers we had in place to put a good plan together. I think we accomplished a lot."
Last night Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office updated in a Facebook post after the failure of the dam, "We will have boats in the water looking for disturbances in the duckweed and surface," JPSO said in their Facebook post, "but will not be employing active techniques such as sonar equipment or divers unless we see something that indicates they are needed. During active operations, we typically have divers in the water constantly searching along with the sonar equipment when it’s available."
The story from earlier in the week:
MARRERO, La. (AP) - Authorities in Louisiana are preparing to drain part of a canal in a heavily wooded park near New Orleans in a search for the remains of a missing child.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto told reporters that it's part of an effort to bring some sense of closure to the family of 4-year-old Ellis Baudean.
The child went missing Thursday evening in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and is believed to have fallen into the water.
The mother jumped into the murky water but was unable to find him.
On Monday, work began on building a dam to start draining the canal. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said that it would likely be completed on Tuesday.
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