The search for 11-year-old missing Colorado Springs boy Gannon Stauch, who disappeared more than two weeks ago, continued Thursday in southern Douglas County.
More than 80 people — including members of horseback and canine units — helped cover 35 acres with the hope of finding the boy alive, said Jacqueline Kirby, an El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. Searching in the area might continue through the weekend, she added.
Kirby would not disclose what led law enforcement officials to look in Douglas County, saying only that "tips and leads" guide their search.
Other areas were also being searched, Kirby said, but she would not disclose where. Thursday's search in Douglas County was the most extensive of the ongoing efforts to find the missing boy, Kirby said.
In many cases, missing children are found by focusing on areas within two to three miles of where the child went missing, said Tom Lauth, a 30-year private investigator in Indiana who is not involved in the search for Gannon. Generally speaking, children are found within 72 hours of going missing, he said.
"You have to canvass every single one of those houses to see if there is a possible video of the child,” he said. “Simply having a sighting of the child on a camera would be really encouraging.”
Temperatures hovered nearly 10 degrees below freezing as searchers, using poles, were seen hiking up Sierra Pines Lane, near the Palmer Lake Regional Recreational Area. The area is near the border of El Paso and Douglas counties.
The terrain is difficult and varied, and included a ravine that required the use of ropes, Kirby said.
As of Thursday, she said, the Sheriff's Office has received nearly 500 tips in the case.
On Wednesday, sheriff's officials announced the expansion of the search into northern El Paso and southern Douglas counties, without disclosing why. The search initially focused on a five-mile area around the boy's home in Lorson Ranch.