LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The case of a missing toddler at Sunset Park is being investigated as a homicide, police said Monday.
After searching since before 9 a.m. on Sunday, a 3-year-old was nowhere to be found. As of Sunday night, Daniel Theriot was still missing.
Once Metro police was notified, police closed the park and checked each car as it left. They also had a helicopter out, later bringing in equipment to check the park’s pond.
“Time is of the essence,” volunteer searcher Aaron Camacho said.
“As soon as the call went off I had 30 volunteers sign up within 10 minutes to search,” Red Rock Search and Rescue commander Donald Moore said. “So we quickly searched the park area, playground area, parking lot areas, and immediate desert area.”
According to search crews, Theriot’s mother was with him at the park. She told police she looked away for a second, then couldn’t find him.
“We’re looking for shoes, clothes, anything that may be out of the ordinary in the park area that might lead us to find him and bring him back to his mom,” Moore said.
Rescue teams and a handful of volunteers combed through the park and the surrounding neighborhood, including a wash and railroad tracks.
Dozens handed out flyers with a picture and more information about Theriot.
“We’re them to 7-11s, fast food restaurants, citizens walking around that might be able to have a set of eyes to help expand those who are looking for the missing youngster,” Moore said.
After roughly nine hours of searching and countless steps through the park, search teams believed Daniel is still at or nearby the park.
“We then went back through the park and went through bathrooms, garbage cans, areas where someone might hide,” Moore said. “These sort of searches are our most important search where we have active involvement right from the beginning. Fortunately he's in a park where there's shade, there's water, there's help.”
Volunteers are staying hopeful as the hours pass with no sight of Theriot.
“It goes down to crunch time,” Camacho said. “In my opinion, that's crunch time when you need all hands on deck.”
Daniel Theriot is a 3-year-old, described as 3-feet tall, weighing 30 pounds, with blue eyes, and blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt with the movie character Lightning McQueen on it, along with red and black plaid pants.
Metro police said he may be in severe emotional distress and in need of medical help.
Crews stopped searching at nightfall. Red Rock SAR will resume first thing, Monday morning.
A police briefing is expected at 6:45 a.m. Check back for updates.
Anyone with any information regarding Theriot's whereabouts are urged to contact Metro's Missing Person's Detail at 702-828-2907 or 911. Tips can also be sent to Metro's headquarters during business hours at 702-828-3111.