GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A massive search effort is underway in Gary, Ind., for special needs woman Diamon Bynum and her two-year-old nephew King Walker, who have been missing since Saturday July 25.
Search dogs picked up the scent of Bynum and Walker in the area around 22nd and Whitcomb in Gary following a report that someone spotted them in that area Wednesday evening.
An in-depth search of the south west part of Gary covering eight square miles Thursday required more than 50 officers and several search dogs going through some dense areas.
"There is a lot of overgrowth, vegetation, abandoned houses. A couple of the dogs have had to be treated because they get hot real quick," said Cmdr. Guy Mikulich of the Lake County (IN) Sheriff's Department.
Bynum, 21, has Prader-Willi syndrome and is said to have a cognitive level of about a 5- to 7-year-old. The disability diminishes her ability to make decisions and causes her to overeat; she also walks with a limp. Her father said she takes medication three times a day. The family says Bynum should not be on her own, and especially not with her toddler nephew.
"We're very sad. We miss both of them. It's unbelievable," said Eugene Bynum, Diamond's father.
Indiana Homeland Security was called in for the first time to assist with a missing persons case in Gary.
"There are a lot vacant homes and there is a lot of this area that is still wilderness area, real thick woods," said Lt. Thomas Pawlak of the Gary Police Department. "And the officers have to go through those woods, and it takes time. It takes time and it takes man power."
Among the searchers Thursday were Bynum's parents, who are also Walker's grandparents.
"I'm very sad but I'm so thankful that we have so many people out helping us today, helping us find our daughter and our grandson," said Eugene Bynum.
"I just hope they hurry up and find them so they can come home, and just pray that they're okay," said LaShann Walker, Diamond's mother.
The family believes there may be someone who is feeding the pair and not calling reporting them. If there is such a person, they urge them to call 911. The search for the pair will resume Friday morning.
Search underway for missing special needs woman and nephew in Gary
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