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Search Efforts Scaled Back For Missing 5-Year-Old Boy

Search and rescue crews looking for the five-year-old Sutherlin boy who went missing after a boating accident on Monday in Danville have changed their tactics.

After searching for little Kolton Brim Karnes under the muddy waters of the Dan River for three days, the operation was scaled back to a surface search Wednesday around 7:30 p.m., according to Danville Police Captain M. V. Carter.

And in Halifax County, personnel from Halifax County Emergency Services, South Boston Police and the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office were placed on standby Monday afternoon to assist Danville officials in the search for young Karnes, said Kirby Saunders, Halifax County emergency services coordinator.

Wednesday’s search efforts in Danville included shore and island searches by Angel Search and Rescue utilizing bloodhounds, Carter said. Cadaver dogs also were used in boats along the Dan River, he added.

The Virginia State Police Underwater Search and Recovery Team searched the river bottom at the area of the accident near Dan Daniel Park, the captain said. For a second day in a row, owners of the Schoolfield Dam agreed to lower the water level in the search area Wednesday by closing the dam gates, Carter added.

In addition to water and land search activities, the captain said Danville pilot Mike Rembold donated two hours of airtime and fuel with Danville police officers riding along as spotters. Rembold and the officers flew along the river downstream of the accident and into North Carolina, but despite these combined efforts the child was not located.

Conservation police officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, who have assisted with the search since Monday, are continuing to patrol the river daily, Capt. Carter said.

Officials are asking all boaters, fishermen and property owners along the Dan River downstream from Dan Daniel Park to keep a watch for anything that can assist in locating Kolton Karnes. He is described as a white male, 4-feet tall, 51 lbs, with sandy brown hair and wearing a red Kasey Kahne T-shirt and green shorts.

Anyone with information about the child’s whereabouts is encouraged to call their local law enforcement agency: Halifax County Sheriff’s Office — 476-3334; South Boston Police Department — 575-4271; Halifax Police Department — 476-2526