MISSING BOY SEARCH: Volunteer recovery diver shares challenges of searching underwater

The Spokane-based volunteer is encouraging other experienced recovery divers to join the search for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia.

YAKIMA, Wash — Authorities are asking if you see Lucian Munguia that you call 911 immediately. Family members are asking for the community’s assistance in searching for Lucian and distributing missing child flyers. Lucian is described as 4 feet tall, 40 lbs, with long black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt with a shark picture on it, blue shorts and black shoes. His family said he was last seen at Sarg Hubbard Park around 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

7:15 p.m.: Spokane-based volunteer recovery diver Dave Reynolds, along with divers Dan Hutchinson and Dustin Herber, have searched the waterways surrounding Sarg Hubbard Park — including Buchanan Lake — but have seen no sign of 4-year-old Lucian Munguia.

Reynolds shared video of the underwater search with KAPP-KVEW on Tuesday in order to prepare any other divers planning to help look for the little boy for any challenges they might face. He said the team was able to borrow an underwater remote-operated vehicle from Jake’s Scuba Adventures in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Reynolds said divers should be aware of the limited visibility in the lake, along with debris, heavy milfoil and a deep rock quarry. He doesn’t recommend people with limited diving experience try to search.

Despite several divers searching local waterways early on in the investigation and now, a little more than a week after Lucian went missing, still finding nothing, Reynolds said additional divers might spot something others didn’t.

Reynolds said divers with the right experience should consider helping out the family by joining in the underwater search. He said any divers with questions about their previous search or about the area they’d be looking in can contact him at 509-981-7853.

4:45 p.m.: A volunteer recovery diver who joined in the underwater search for the missing boy has shared video of the search with KAPP-KVEW, to show other divers potentially interested in doing the same some of the challenges they may face.

3 p.m.: KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell reports family members are still coordinating search efforts from Sarg Hubbard Park and need volunteers. Family members said people who can’t volunteer can pick up flyers to distribute across town or email them at BringLucianHome@gmail.com to get a PDF of the missing child flyer to print off at home.

Monday, Sept. 19

8 p.m.: KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell spoke with family members, who say there are no new clues as to where the Yakima boy may be and now, search parties have dwindled; just a small number of volunteers and family members remain. The family was able to receive assistance from a private dive team, but they did not find anything during their search of local waterways.

Thursday, Sept. 15

8:45 p.m.: KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell spoke with a family member about the latest search efforts and to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, which said Lucian’s case is different from those they’ve seen before due to the scope of the search, the response from law enforcement and the length of time he’s been missing without a clue as to his whereabouts.

12 p.m.: As the family works to coordinate search efforts, volunteers from across Yakima County are joining in to continue looking for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

7 p.m.: The family of missing 4-year-old Lucian Munguia has officially taken over the search for the little boy, who disappeared Saturday from Sarg Hubbard Park. KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell spoke with the family members at their makeshift command post near the playground where Lucian went missing to learn more about how volunteers can help join in the search.

12 p.m.: Loved ones are asking for volunteers to help them search for and spread awareness about Lucian Munguia, the 4-year-old boy with autism who has been missing since Saturday night. KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell spoke with a family friend, who gave in-depth details about the family’s wishes for posters including specific information that is pertinent to the search.

Tuesday, Sept. 13

12 p.m.: The family of Lucian Munguia has released new photos of the 4-year-old, some of which show what he looks like with short hair. KAPP KVEW’s Emily Goodell tells us several civilian volunteers have come to Sarg Hubbard Park to search for Lucian.

His family is organizing civilian search teams and they ask if you want to come help that you check in with the volunteer post at the park. The main priority is to find Lucian, however, they want all searchers to maintain safety at all times.

At this time, there is no new official update from law enforcement, but the investigation and search are active.

Monday, Sept. 12

8 p.m.: The Yakima Police Department says civilian searchers are allowed to now come to the area and help with the search of Lucian. YPD says detectives have established that Lucian left the playground alone and headed south and east. In that direction is a fast-flowing river, a pond and a deep lake. Underwater drones and divers checked both bodies of water but did not find him.

4 p.m.: The Yakima Police Department update at 4 p.m. did not have any new developments. They gave a message they hope to have a detailed update later this evening.

2 p.m.: Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray tells KAPP KVEW’s Emily Goodell there is “no indication at this point of foul play on anyone’s part.” The investigation into Lucian’s disappearance is ongoing, including what was happening immediately before the 4-year-old went missing. Chief Murray also says search crews are using underwater drones to search nearby bodies of water. The drones have advanced technology and don’t need to come up for air like human divers. When it comes to searching a large area, that’s important when it comes to timing.

“It’s enormous and there are a lot of heavy brush there’s there’s not only lakes and rivers but there’s canals and ditches and mud and I mean there’s a lot of area to search,” Chief Murray said. While it’s possible that searchers could have missed Lucian in an area they have already looked, Chief Murray says crews continue to backtrack. That’s one of the reasons why law enforcement doesn’t want civilian volunteers to search at this time.

“All of the searchers have GPS on him. So you can see the track of exactly where they were and then the map overlays and it gives us a really good idea of what has been and what has not been searched,” Chief Murray said. “We’ve also of course been looking for articles of clothing, footprints, things like that. So up until now, we really didn’t want to have people that might be contaminating that also making it difficult for the dogs.”

Hear from Chief Murray tonight on KAPP KVEW News at 4:30. Watch the full Chief Murray interview on our YouTube channel, where you’ll get exclusive content.

10 a.m.: Investigators are asking anyone who was at Sarg Hubbard Park between 6:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday to search their phones for any pictures or videos they may have taken and send them to YPD@yakimapolice.org, as well as report any tips to 911.

More agencies from across Washington state have joined the search for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia per Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray. New groups joining overnight search efforts include the Spokane branch of the U.S. Air Force and teams from King County, Kittitas County and the Glead Fire Department. With increased resources comes improved technology, like remote submersible drones that are being used to search underwater passageways.

No further developments have been made as the search efforts extend into the third day. According to the Yakima Police Department, they will post another update at 4 p.m., unless they have additional information before then to share with the public. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to avoid the area around Sarg Hubbard Park and leave the search to trained personnel.

Sunday, Sept. 11

8:30 p.m.: Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray issued an update on the search for Lucian. It’s been more than 24 hours since the 4-year-old was last seen in Sarg Hubbard Park. Chief Murray said more than 100 trained searchers arrived to search for the boy Sunday. Authorities are also using drones, bloodhounds and dive teams to look for any clues as to where Lucian might be. Chief Murray said a statewide missing/endangered person alert has been issued, but this is not the same as an AMBER Alert. At this time, according to Chief Murray, Lucian’s case does not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert.

At this time, Chief Murray said Lucian’s whereabouts are unknown. While investigators do have some information on what led up to the boy’s disappearance, Murray says investigators are still going through all of the information. He says the search and rescue portion of the investigation has been handed over to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team. This is a team that specializes in cases like Lucian’s. Chief Murray also asked that people on social media not speculate on what may have happened to the 4-year-old or in regards to the boy’s family. He asks that people simply pray for Lucian’s safe return.

“The best thing we can do as a community right now is to wrap our arms around this family, care for them and do everything we can to bring Lucian home safe,” Chief Murray said in a recorded Facebook statement.

Chief Murray said additional resources will be available for search and rescue teams Monday. Better technology for dive teams is also on the way, Chief Murray said. Unless a breaking situation happens overnight, Chief Murray said the next update will be 10 a. m. Monday.

7 p.m. – Nearly 100 people gathered at Martin Luther King Park to pray for Lucian and his family. Members of the Yakima City Council say many people were asking what they could do since authorities do not need search and rescue volunteers at this time. They decided to host the candlelight vigil so the community could actively pray together and show the family support. Members of law enforcement and the community gathered and prayed for nearly a half hour as the search continues.

6:40 p.m. – The Yakima Police Department has issued a new photo of Lucian. Authorities said this photo shows the shirt Lucian was wearing the day he was reported missing. His hair, however, is slightly longer than what is in the photo. Authorities are asking for members of the public who may have been at Sarg Hubbard Park between the hours of 6:45 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday to come forward with any photos or information they may have. Even if you don’t believe you have information, you never know what can be helpful to the investigation, Chief Murray said.

6 p.m. – KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell says Lucian’s parents are desperate for answers. She says his parents ask that the community keep their eyes open for any signs of the 4-year-old. Lucian, which is pronounced “Lu-shi-en”, isn’t nonverbal as previously reported on social media, according to his parents. His mother said he usually comes when someone calls out for him and does not have a history of wandering off. She said he also will answer to “Shooshi” or “Shooshen”, which are two of his nicknames. Lucian’s mother also said he also recognizes the word “Yoohoo!” because that’s how she greets him when she gets home from work. She said he usually says it back to her when she comes in the door.

5 p.m. – Members of the Yakima City Council, as well as law enforcement are inviting the public to come to Martin Luther King Park Sunday at 7 p.m. There will be a short candlelight vigil for Lucian and his family. This is a way for the community to show their support of not only Lucian and his family, but also to law enforcement and search and rescue teams. An officiant from the Yakima Association of Faith Communities will be there to lead the group in prayer.

2 p.m. – The Washington State Patrol has issued a statewide Missing/Endagered Missing Person Alert for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia. Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray says Lucian does not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert at this time.

12:30 p.m. – According to the Yakima Police Department, more than 80 trained search and rescue personnel are in and around Sarg Hubbard Park to search for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia. Not only are teams on foot combing through the area, specially trained dive teams are also searching the water in and around the park. However, due to low water levels in the river, boats cannot be deployed. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office has a boat with a search team on Buchanan Lake. There is a kayak out on the river searching that body of water as well.

9:20 a.m. – The search for 4-year-old Lucian Munguia is still ongoing. The Yakima Police Department has transferred part of the investigation over to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. The YCSO has a specialized Search and Rescue Team that is experienced in missing persons cases. There is also a helicopter that has joined the search, sent by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Yakima Police say they will continue to assist in the search as needed. If you have any information or any tips, please contact the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office or call 509-575-2500.

1 a.m. – The Yakima Police Department has issued an update on the search for missing 4-year-old, Lucian Munguia. Police Chief Matt Murray says the call for help came in around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Chief Murray says the father of Lucian called and said the family had been searching for the last 15 minutes, but Lucian was no where to be found. By 9:30 Saturday night, Chief Murray said more than 20 law enforcement officers showed up to Sarg Hubbard Park to help in the search. He says bloodhounds are on the way to the scene as well as more trained search and rescue personnel. Chief Murray says there is not a call for civilian searchers at this time.

Saturday, Sept. 10

9 p.m. – The Yakima Police Department says they are searching for Lucian Munguia. Lucian is 4-years-old and his family says he was last seen around 7:15 p.m. at Sarg Hubbard Park. Authorities say the family reported they searched for him around 15 minutes before calling police when they could not find him. Lucian is described as about 4 feet tall, wearing blue shorts and a blue shirt with a shark on it. Authorities say Lucian has shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes. If you see him, call 911 or contact the Yakima Police Department.

THE SEARCH FOR LUCIAN MUNGUIA ON YAKTRINEWS.COM:

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