Missing Washington state toddler’s parents speak out

Missing

(NewsNation) — The search for a 4-year-old boy who vanished from a Washington state playground continued Wednesday, bringing the time the toddler has been missing to more than six weeks. 

Authorities have scoured the area for Lucian Munguia, who was last seen in the city of Yakima, which sits about 140 miles southeast of Seattle.

Lucian was at the park with his dad and siblings when he seemed to disappear without a trace, leaving many wondering whether the child wandered off on his own or if someone played a role in his disappearance. 

The Yakima Police Department and sheriff’s detectives say there is no evidence of foul play and that they do not believe the parents did anything to Lucian.

The parents have been largely reluctant to speak with the media about their son’s disappearance, which has raised some suspicion on social media.

“I would just ask people to be patient,” Chief Matt Murray of the Yakima Police Department said. “Let’s support the family, love the family. They’re going through horrible things none of us would want to endure.”

The parents sat down with NewsNation Wednesday night.

Juan Munguia, who is the father of the missing boy, explained he and his wife’s absence from the public eye was nothing more than not wanting to take the time away from searching for his son.

“I haven’t stopped searching. I’ve been searching this entire time,” he told NewsNation. 

The parents say they think he was taken, or he would have been found already. The police feel strongly that he wound up in the water and just hasn’t been found yet.

“We had just got to the park. My kids are usually entertained with the slides for at least five to 10 minutes. It only took me about one minute to change (my daughter’s) diaper. And in that one minute, he was gone,” Juan Munguia said. 

Police have searched the park and surrounding areas. 

“We’ve had sheriff search and rescue, drones, dive team, we’ve had bloodhounds and obviously dozens and dozens of police officers,” Murray said. 

In a statement, police said they established Lucian left the playground alone, heading south and east. Unfortunately, there are a fast-flowing river, a pond and a deep lake in that direction.

Volunteer diver Dave Reynolds even released a video showing the conditions in the pond.

“There’s a lot of sediment, and there’s a lot of underwater debris to get caught up on. And it gets very, very dark very quickly,” Reynolds said. 

Despite that, Reynolds thinks they searched the pond and lake well.

“With the number of divers that have been in the bodies of water, there’s probably a 95 to 99 percent chance that he’s not there,” Reynolds said. 

Lucian’s family marked his fifth birthday on Oct. 5 with a vigil at the park. Additionally, the family is offering a $10,000 reward to bring Lucian home, and launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to fund the search efforts.

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