By Linda Ash -- Daily Editor
STAR TANNERY - A massive search conducted for a missing 3-year-old boy on Saturday night ended when his body was recovered from Cedar Creek shortly after midnight.
Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter said the boy appeared to have drowned in the creek, but noted that the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Carter declined to release the names of the boy and his parents because not all family members had been notified.
The child's family called 911 at 8:41 p.m. after discovering him missing from a family gathering at their home in the 7400 block of Zepp Road.
"There is a creek, happens to be Cedar Creek, that runs behind the house, and this child and some other children were playing," Carter said. "His family noticed him missing, and of course they looked around the area and then called 911, and we responded."
Carter said swift water rescue personnel recovered the boy's body in the creek a few hundred yards downstream from his home.
"We had a lot of help here tonight," Carter said. "We had a multitude of organizations here helping, including private citizens."
He said a "child is missing alert" was issued and neighbors were called to ask them to check around their homes, and many volunteers came out into the cold evening to conduct the search.
Carter said area residents who read about the missing child on Facebook also offered their help.
Volunteers stopped at the Star Tannery Volunteer Fire Department to sign up for the search and waited there to be called up to a command center set up at a community center a few miles from the boy's home. There were about 100 names on the list by 11:30 p.m.
Law enforcement and fire rescue personnel from Toms Brook, Star Tannery, Strasburg and Shenandoah, Frederick and Fauquier counties as well as Virginia State Police were among the searchers. Canines, boats and a helicopter from Fairfax also were in use during the search.
Contact Editor Linda Ash at 540-465-5137 ext. 163 or firstname.lastname@example.org