HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Four-year-old Codi Bigsby was first reported missing in Hampton nearly a week ago.
Now that investigators are combing through new leads and have cleared out their staging area, people in the community have taken it upon themselves to knock on doors and search areas that may have been missed by law enforcement.
Volunteers braved the cold Saturday to search for the child behind the woods of Restoration Church on Fox Hill Road. The church sits adjacent to Buckroe Pointe Apartments, where Codi was first reported missing.
Some were armed with machetes as folks hiked through thorns and mud in hopes of finding something that could help bring the boy home–digging through an abandoned storage unit and bodies of water.
“We need to come together as a community,” said Tish Claytor-Hardy.
Claytor-Hardy told 10 On Your Side she has been following Codi’s story from day one from Virginia Beach. With two children of her own, she decided to join the search.
“I felt compelled to come out here and try and do my part and bring Codi home safe and sound,” Claytor-Hardy explained.
Roger Lee, also from Virginia Beach, said his two daughters mean the world to him and he worries how Codi is feeling–scared and possibly alone.
“I couldn’t see myself not being around my kids every day. Here’s my opportunity to help and do what I can,” Lee stated.
From Hampton Roads to as far as Richmond–Tiffany Winstead made the 90-minute drive to walk the woods with her two childhood friends. She said they’ve followed the news and wanted to do their part.
“It’s very sad. I hope we find him and I hope he gets returned,” Winstead said.
Volunteers plan to continue their search Sunday morning. A candlelight vigil is planned for Codi’s safe return Sunday night at the Hampton Soccer Fields in Old Buckroe at 5:30 p.m.
Police say Codi Bigsby was last seen in the 100 block of Ranalet Drive, at the Buckroe Pointe townhomes in the Buckroe area of Hampton. Officers were called to the home just after 9 a.m. on Monday, January 31. When they arrived Codi’s father told them the child was last seen around 2 a.m. that day.
Codi Bigsby is about 3 feet tall and was last seen in all black clothing and Spider-Man flip-flops.
Around 4 p.m. Monday, Hampton police gave a press conference regarding the search for Codi.
During the press conference, Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot stated that Codi’s father, Cory Bigsby, told them that he woke up Monday morning and found that his son was missing.
“We’ve called every resource and have every resource out here,” said Talbot following numerous offers of support.
As the search continued into Tuesday morning, Police Chief Mark Talbot said that evidence hasn’t matched stories they’ve received from Codi Bigsby’s father about when Codi was last seen. They remained stationed outside the apartment where Codi lives with his father and, according to a family member, three other children.
Talbot and police spokesperson Sgt. Reggie Williams did not share what that specific evidence was in a press conference Tuesday morning.
“We probably won’t know for certain how much is being left out until we find this child,” Talbot said.
Officials went on to search the Hampton/NASA Steam Plant as “an element of the comprehensive search” Tuesday afternoon and evening.
When asked on Tuesday if he believes Codi Bigsby is still alive, Talbot replied: “we will work as if he’s out there, waiting for us to find him.”
50 volunteers were initially requested to help search for Codi, and all spots were quickly taken. Talbot said Codi is still likely still near the area of the Buckroe Pointe townhomes where he was reported missing.
On Wednesday afternoon, Cory Bigsby was named a person of interest. During the press conference, police said he had willingly been at the police headquarters since Monday and was continuing to cooperate with officers.
In addition, police say they continue to search within a one-mile radius of the apartment complex where Codi lives. While the search radius has not changed, they are expanding their search areas within the grid.
All waterways within the grid are being considered for the search.
As night three of searching for Codi came to a close, 10 On Your Side’s Michelle Wolf met with Cory Bigsby’s sister Tandaleyia Butler again as she returned from police headquarters. Butler said she believes Codi might’ve slipped out through a sliding glass door after opening it and that he’s opened doors and gotten out before. She wants her nephew found safe and sound, stressing her brother is not a monster.
Butler said the rest of her family would arrive in Hampton on Thursday morning from Washington D.C. to aid in the search.
Search efforts expanded Thursday morning. Those expanded efforts include support from neighboring fire and police officials, including the Cape Charles police and Suffolk firefighters.
On Thursday evening, Codi’s father was taken into custody on seven counts of child neglect. According to sources, the charges stem from incidents dating back to December. However, it is not clear if the charges are connected with Codi Bigsby’s disappearance.
Officials asked anyone who has seen Codi, his father or siblings since Christmas is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Those who live in their apartment complex, Buckroe Pointe, and have surveillance cameras were also asked to call the FBI.