Search area for missing 4-year-old expands

UPDATE: The body of Jayden Morrison was discovered in a pond Friday morning around 10:45, according to Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.

The search area for missing 4-year-old Jayden Morrison is expanding.

Search crews cleared a half-mile radius Thursday and are expanding the radius Friday to one mile, according to Lisa Bourcier, spokesperson for Horry County.

"The crews cleared a half mile search area yesterday, but they are still going over some areas like ponds today," she said. "Today, the search will expand to include the River Hills and Lafayette neighborhoods."

The search includes volunteers and police and fire/rescue agencies from across the state and North Carolina.

Rescue crews continue to search undeveloped lands, lakes, and retention ponds, while law enforcement continues itâ??s searching of neighborhoods and more populated areas near the home where Jayden went missing, according to Lt. Raul Denis, with Horry County police.

He said there were no significant developments in the case.

Bourcier said now that businesses are open again after the holiday, they are asking everyone to search their properties.

"We are asking everyone in the area to be on the look out and look around their properties where a small child may hide," she said.

More than 150 volunteers showed up Friday morning to help search for Jayden.

"We broke the volunteers out into teams of eight to 10 and each team has an officer and a rescue person," she said. "They set out on foot and are looking everywhere a small child may hide."

Police also asked volunteers to park their vehicles at Gymnastics and More at 304 Highway 90 East in Little River. A shuttle will carry volunteers from there to the Hidden Lakes subdivision.

If anyone sees something suspicious, please call 248-1520.

Jayden Morrison was last seen around 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve by his family.

He is described as four feet tall, 40 pounds and African American. He was last seen wearing red and orange pajamas.

According to the Horry County Fire Rescue, he went missing near Horseshoe Road in Little River. His family is visiting from New York.

Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department says Jayden is autistic and does not speak.

Since then, search dog teams, divers and community members on foot have looked for Jayden. Helicopters were also called to assist in the search.

On Thursday, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the CUE Center for Missing Persons also assisted in the search.

A drone was also launched Thursday and Friday by the fire department to look at the ponds near where the boy was last seen, according to Brian VanAernem with Horry County Fire.

Andre Morrison, Jayden's father, and Tabatha Morrison, Jayden's mother, pleaded with the public to help find their son.

"The more [police and fire officials] claim that he isn't in the waters around here, the more other worries seep in," said Andre Morrison. "Hopefully no one abducted him. If someone did, just bring him back."

Tabatha Morrison said the support from the community is amazing.

"It is amazing and overwhelming," she said. "I mean, how many people are out here that don't have to be looking for my baby. They don't know me, they don't know us, they don't know him, but they are helping."

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