The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI have joined with Live Oak police, the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office and dozens of community volunteers in a search for an autistic boy who disappeared from his home before dawn Wednesday.
Leo Walker was last seen in his mother's Duval Street home about 4 a.m. wearing blue shorts, a blue T-shirt and no shoes. When she woke up Wednesday morning, he was gone.
Leo is described as having blond hair, blue eyes and is 4 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 87 pounds.
"We are not going to stop until we have some answers or a resolution," said Lake City Police Chief Buddy Williams said.
Police said the boy is autistic and has gotten away before, but was found quickly about a block from his home.
"He is a very gentle, loving kind child," said Laurie Brown, the boy's aunt. "Because he is autistic, he goes through like a manic personality: One minute he's happy and one minute he is upset. And when he is upset, he touches his chest and he hums."
PRINTABLE MISSING PERSONS POSTER: Leo Walker
FDLE issued a statewide alert Wednesday morning. By Thursday, about 70 volunteers joined a grid search of the area. A helicopter, other aircraft and K-9 teams are also involved in the search.
Brown said they searched "all through the night, all day yesterday. We are just doing everything we can to bring him home."
Chief Williams said they are getting a few leads, and following every one.
"We are planning this event through the weekend. You have to look ahead," Williams said. "The longer this goes on, the more difficult it becomes."
Rachelle Simmons said she saw posts on social media about the missing 9-year-old boy and wanted to do something.
"I left my lights on, I have security lights on, I left a blanket and pillow outside for him last night just in case," said Simmons. "And then I was like, 'They're still searching.' I told my husband that, cause he's a correctional officer, I said I'm heading up there, I'm going to look for him."
The fact Leo's missing has complete strangers dropping everything.
"Because I have children of my own and I think that if something were to happen to mine, I'd be happy that the community is coming together to search for my own child," said Simmons. "I've raised my grandson and the thought of him being lost and not knowing where he's at at all times just scares me, so I would want someone to do this for me if it happen to my son."
There was a large crowd of people out consoling the family, but the family is not giving up hope.
Volunteers are expected to reconvene at 8 a.m. Friday. Anyone wishing to help should meet at the Live Oak Colosseum.
Anyone who sees the boy or has any information is asked to call the Live Oak police at 386-330-3501 or the FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.