UPDATE August 17, 3:39 p.m.
LIVE OAK, Fla.
Live Oak Police Chief Buddy Williams today announced through the use of investigative resources and DNA analysis, the child's body recently discovered in Live Oak, has been identified as that of missing 9-year-old Leo Walker.
"My appreciation to all of the law enforcement personnel and civilian volunteers who assisted in the search efforts for Leo," said Live Oak Police Chief Buddy Williams. "While we are saddened by the outcome of this case, we are thankful for the resources provided to our community during this tragedy."
UPDATE August 17 3:09 p.m.
Authorities in Live Oak say the body discovered in a local pond on Friday is that of nine-year old Leo Walker. A vigil will be held tonight at 9 p.m at John Hale Park.
Eyewitness news will have coverage tonight at 11.
Updated by: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 15, 2014 - 3 p.m.
LIVE OAK, Fla. -- Live Oak police chief Buddy Williams said during a press conference that officials have discovered the body of a deceased child but were uncertain as to whether or not the body was that of Leo Walker.
Williams said that there hadn't been a positive identification of the body that was found.
Officials said yesterday that they were going to drain a lake near the home. The body of the child was found in a body of water this morning.
During the noon press conference, Williams said that LOPD is continuing on with the investigation and that all search efforts are ongoing.
During a 3 p.m. press conference, Chief Williams said that the body had still not been identified and the search had not yet been called off. Local, state and federal agencies are assisting LOPD with the search.
No further details are available at this time.
Updated by: Charlene Cristobal
August 14, 2014 - 8pm
LIVE OAK, Fla. -- The search for 9-year-old Leo Walker is still on going as of 8 p.m. Leo is 4'7", 87 lbs, blonde hair, blue eyes. Officials say he may be wear blue shorts with dark pinstripes. He is autistic and has trouble communicating with others.
Officials started a voluntary sign-up for community members to help in the search for Leo. They sent out groups of 25 volunteers into different areas to go out and search. Some groups went door-to-door in neighborhoods, others went to wooded areas -- anywhere Leo could be or could be hiding. Police also started going door-to-door in surrounding neighborhoods near the Walker home off of Duval Street. The community of Live Oak hasn't given up hope that Leo will be found soon.
"There's always signs of hope until we can have anything other than that," said Captain Buddy Walker with Live Oak Police Department. "We're following up on any lead that we get in. The leads are slow, we are getting a few and we're investigating each and every lead as far as we can and trying to come up with a resolution on the leads that we have."
Over 300 people signed up to help in the search, plus over a dozen state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Information came in, warning volunteers that Leo likes cars -- so to make sure to look under cars, likes climbing trees and hums to calm himself down -- so listen for humming.
"Leo can't find him himself," said Tracy Brown who helped in the search. "Leo is special needs, any child...I have a child, and I know if my child was lost, I would not want someone to give up searching for my child because they were tired...I don't look at the fact that we're all tired but that's ok we can gather our energy because this boy needs us. He needs to be found."
Right before 6 p.m. Eyewitness News learned that officials are going to start pumping out a lake that is near the family's home off of Duval Street. Officials say that there is no indication that Leo is in the water, but they want to rule it out. The pumping of the lake will take about two days.
Volunteer search parties stopped at 8 p.m. but they will start back up tomorrow at 8 a.m. If you would like to join the search for Leo Walker, sign-ups will be at the Suwannee County Agriculture Colosseum.
If you have information, you are urged to call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at 386-362-2222 or 911.
Updated by: Charlene Cristobal
August 13, 2014 - 8pm
LIVE OAK, Fla. -- The search for 9-year-old Leo Walker is still on going as 7:30 p.m.
According to officials, Leo went missing from his home in Live Oak off of Duval Street around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. They say that Leo is autistic, has trouble speaking and will most likely run away if confronted. He is 4'7", 87 lbs and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Family, friends and neighbors have been helping with the search. "It's really something," said neighbor Carey Granville. "We've never actually seen him walking around. We've seen him in his wheelchair, his brother pushes him all over the place. It's just, [they're] very quiet people."
Suwannee County Police, Live Oak Police, FDLE, FWC, FBI and other law enforcement agencies were in Live Oak assisting in the search. Live Oak Police Department said they got a tip around 10:30 a.m. from someone who said they spotted Walker near Shands Hospital. From there, they expanded the search to Silas Drive and Coliseum Avenue.
"Right now, we're working off tips," said Detective Scott Gamble with Live Oak Police Department during an interview at 12:30 p.m. "We've had a few leads and possible location of the child. Dog teams are out there now, several dog teams, tracking, door-to-door searches and immediate area of the house. Just basically canvasing the entire city."
At 3:30 p.m. FDLE arrived at the Walker home and started taking pictures, taking evidence, even dusting for finger prints. Around 5:30 p.m. all law enforcement agencies regrouped at the home to "start from square one," after not having any leads on the location of Walker since 10:30 a.m. They are in a fight against time, with the sun going down and the weather working against them.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Leo Walker, please call Suwannee Law Enforcement at 386-362-2222.
By: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 13, 2014
Police in Live Oak are searching for a 9-year-old boy with autism.
According to FDLE, Leo Walker was last seen around 4 a.m. near the 700 block of East Duval Street. He is 4'7" and weights 87 lbs with blue eyes. He was last seen wearing blue shorts, a blue t-shirt with no shoes.
Officials ask that anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Leo to contact the Live Oak Police Department at (386) 362-7463 or FDLE at 1-888-FL-MISSING.