Missing boy’s shoe found in river, volunteer effort called off

More than 500 volunteers helped look for missing 3-year-old on Saturday and Sunday

More than 500 people joined in the search for a missing local 3-year-old in early June.
Chris Dillmann | Special to the Daily

The headline of this story was corrected to indicate Sebastian’s shoe was found in the Eagle River

Sebastian Rodriguez Castro, 3, remains missing after the second day of search efforts ended without recovering the boy on Sunday.

Thanks in part to the overwhelming volunteer response over the weekend, crews determined that combing the nearby areas on foot would no longer be needed from locals wishing to help.

“Land-based searches have been extensive, both in town and all surrounding areas,” Tracy LeClair, the acting public information officer for the inter-agency effort, wrote on Sunday. “As a result, beginning tomorrow [Monday], we will be consolidating search efforts to focus on the river.”

LeClair said an article of clothing that was positively identified as Sebastian’s was located in the Eagle River.

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“As a result, the search area was expanded to include additional downstream areas,” LeClair wrote on Sunday. “The phone he was carrying when he went missing was found today in the river below the apartment complex. Despite exhaustive efforts by both first responders and volunteers, we have been unable to find any other additional clues.”

Sebastian was last seen on Friday at about 9 p.m. in the playground area of the Eagle Villas Apartments, which are located next to the Eagle River. The Eagle River reached peak levels for the season in the days before the boy went missing.

More than 500 volunteers helped look for Sebastian on Saturday and Sunday.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said search efforts included ground searches, helicopters, multiple UAV (drone) teams, trained search and rescue dog teams, water rescue teams, FBI operations and a 24-hour tip line for leads.

Agencies assisting the Eagle Police Department in the effort included Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Avon Police Department, Vail Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Vail Mountain Rescue, Summit County Rescue Group, Garfield County Search and Rescue, Gypsum Fire Protection District, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, FBI, the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Routt County, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the National Institute of Missing and Exploited Children, HAATS, ECO Transit, Vail Transit, Vail Valley Salvation Army, the Northwest Colorado Incident Management Team, and Vail Public Safety Communications Center.

“We are tremendously grateful for everyone that donated their time and resources to this highly emotional search,” LeClair wrote on Sunday. “We kindly ask that you respect the privacy of Sebastian’s family during this incredibly difficult time, and assure authorities will continue to follow up and work closely with the family on any and all leads.”

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