PIKE COUNTY, Ga. — A 15-year-old blind boy with autism was found dead after he was reported missing earlier this week, the Pike County Sheriff confirmed Thursday.
Ephramin Moisey Burgeen went missing from Madden Bridge road in Molena. On Thursday, police said the boy was found in a small pond. At this time, investigators said it does not appear the boy was the victim of foul play.
Pike County Fire Chief Rick O'Barr told 11Alive's LaTasha Givens that the boy liked to play in the pond, about 300 feet from his home.
"He loved to play in water and things of that nature. He liked playing outside, from what I understand," O'Barr said. "He liked to play outside at night so he wasn't scared of the dark."
O'Barr said that over 100 volunteers searched the area after he was reported missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Pike County officials coordinated a massive search for the child, using volunteer searchers, drone technology and helicopters. Officers also searched the area on horseback.
"It's amazing to me how many people we had show up wiling to help," O'Barr said. "We had people on four-wheelers and people on horses."
Search and rescue teams also brought in two dogs trained by the Army and sent them out to canvass the area using a piece of Burgeen's clothing that had not been washed. The dogs eventually led investigators to the pond, where Burgeen's body was discovered.
"They brought in two search and rescue dogs that were trained by the Army. We got a piece of clothing from the momma that hadn't been washed," O'Barr explained. "The took it and went straight for the beaver pond."
The pond is only about waist-deep, O'Barr said. One of the searchers found Burgeen after falling into a hole nearby.
The 15-year-old had siblings and his mother helped in the search, O'Barr said.
“Thank you to all of the citizens that came out and assisted Emergency Services last night,” Pike County Sheriff’s officials said in a release Thursday. “The outpouring of support from our citizens is what helps make Pike County a special place.”
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