Arizona authorities continued their search Tuesday for a missing toddler after descending upon the Beaver Creek Campground early Monday morning when his adoptive mother, Christina Priem, discovered 2-year-old Syler Newton gone. According to ABC 15 in Phoenix, while camping with her mother and children, the missing child is believed to have crawled out of his sleeping bag and moved past Priem, her mother, and her 12-year-old daughter to get outside. The child also moved past a nearby tent wherein slept Priem’s 14-year-old son and a friend. Then Syler Newton vanished into the night.
Yavapai Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn reported that the child was last seen at around 12:30 a.m. After finding him gone, family members quickly searched the area, and then police were called. Although foul play does not seem to have occurred, the FBI was brought in to assist. Of particular concern to all was that Syler Newton was wearing only a diaper when last seen.
D’Evelyn said Syler Newton was last seen around midnight sleeping with family members inside a tent. After discovering that Priem was the child’s adoptive mother authorities also alerted Syler Newton’s biological mother, who lived in another state, attempting to rule out any type of custodial issues. Priem claimed to be in the process of gaining custody of the child.
Authorities do not believe that any of Syler Newton’s biological relatives were in the area when he went missing.
About two dozen campers helped search for the missing child. Divers and swift water rescue teams worked the creek that runs through the campground, searching its pools, which can reach depths up to five feet.
Search efforts on Monday took ground teams, bloodhounds, and a helicopter to a radius of about five miles. Authorities said that search efforts for Tuesday included an expanded search area and more dogs.
According to Nancy Grace’s blog, two camping vehicles used by the family are being investigated as well.
Although it is worrisome that the child may be wandering alone in the woods of Yavapai County with only a diaper on, there is hope. In May 2009, CNN reported that 3-year-old Joshua Childers survived for 50 hours on his own in the Mark Twain National Forest of Missouri.
Syler Newton is described as a white male, with light brown hair, blue eyes, approximately 3 feet tall and weighing about 20 pounds. Anyone with information regarding the missing child should contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office immediately at 928-771-3260 or call 911.