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Family of missing Ark. boy endure cruel wait

Family of missing 4-year-old Ark. boy endure cruel wait for news as camp search continues By The Associated Press

HARDY, Ark. (AP) ' Carolyn Truex watched Tuesday as a border collie sniffed a spot of weeds along the riverbank near where her 4-year-old great grandson was last seen, unsure whether to feel relief or despair when it turned up nothing.

For three days, she and her family have held tightly to the hope that the boy, Caleb Linn, took a wrong path or fell into the fast-moving stream but managed to pull himself out and survive alone in the Arkansas Ozarks foothills. The alternative is too horrible to speak about, but the presence of cadaver dogs and dive teams makes it impossible to ignore.

"Right now if they find something, I don't know if I want them to find it or not," Truex said.

Caleb has been missing since Saturday, when he tagged along with his aunt and several other children to help clear storm debris from a bridge at the 900-acre Kia Kimi Boy Scout Camp, which his aunt was looking after while the regular caretaker was away.

When five of the children left to go back to the cabin area around lunchtime, Caleb asked if he could follow and his aunt told him he could, but that he had to stick to the road, Fulton County Sheriff Buck Foley said. The last she saw of him before she turned around to resume her work, Caleb was standing at the end of the bridge, he said.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out Monday to help in the search, and divers cleared debris and took underwater photographs beneath the bridge. The weather since Saturday has been dry and unusually warm for March, lending hope to Caleb's chances of survival. But where calls of "Caleb" could be heard coming from the woods and along the Spring River tributary Monday, the camp was quiet enough Tuesday to hear the whir of bass boats passing nearby.

Caleb's parents, who declined to be interviewed, had travelled from their home in Springdale, 150 miles west of Hardy, and were staying in one of the cabins.

While waiting for clearance to join the search Tuesday, several of Caleb's relatives talked about his fear of frogs, spiders and anything else scary. Truex described Caleb, the oldest of four children, as a "very active" boy and speculated that if he had fallen in the river, just maybe, he could have found his way out.

Truex, worried about how Caleb's mother, Amanda Muir, was holding up, asked aloud: "I wonder if Amanda got any rest last night."

"If we didn't get any sleep, she didn't," replied one of his uncles, Joey Dawson.

Finally they were off, fighting their way along sandy trails and through thorny branches that would snap back with a thwack as the small group charged on.

"You know, that's the last picture we ever took together," said Dawson, showing a photo of him and his nephew he keeps on his cell phone. Despite creeping resignation in his voice, the 16-year-old later found himself tethered to a tree and swimming to a small island, just in case Caleb had gotten stranded there.

Dawson swam back to report he found "a whole bunch of nothing," and another uncle, Chris Bruner, replied that it was still worth it.

"At least you know you searched," Bruner said.


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Related Keywords:Missing Boy-Arkansas,Missing persons,Search and rescue efforts,General news

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