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Active search for autistic boy missing for a week in Germany ends

In World
April 29, 2024

The active search for a 6-year-old boy with autism who left his home in northern Germany a week ago, triggering a huge manhunt, will be suspended on Tuesday, police said.

“We will no longer be on site here from tomorrow,” said a police spokesman on Monday evening, although a team of investigators will continue to work the case.

Hundreds of emergency services and volunteers have been searching for the boy named Arian since April 22, combing a partially wooded area of 5,300 hectares near the town of Bremervörde, west of Hamburg.

Around 800 people were involved every day, including many expert teams with dogs, horses, helicopters, drones, boats and diving equipment.

“We wanted to do everything humanly possible to find Arian,” said the police spokesperson.

On Sunday alone, 1,200 people searched for the child and a human chain had “turned over every stone,” he said. “We threw everything into the search yesterday.”

The search crews assumed that the autistic boy would not respond to being spoken to and would not answer when he noticed people nearby. They tried in vain to get his attention with fireworks, balloons, sweets, loudspeakers and so-called skybeams – cones of light that were thrown into the night sky.

The 6-year-old disappeared from his home on Monday evening last week – wearing socks and light clothing, according to the police, who assume that the boy ran away on his own.

A surveillance camera had filmed Arian running towards a neighbouring forest after leaving his parents’ house. The father immediately alerted the police when he realized that the child was no longer at home.

In view of the low nightly temperatures over the past few days, the search had become a race against time, police said.

Armed forces officers walk through the missing boy's home. Six-year-old Arian from Elm is still missing as the search for him continues. Sina Schuldt/dpa

Armed forces officers walk through the missing boy’s home. Six-year-old Arian from Elm is still missing as the search for him continues. Sina Schuldt/dpa

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