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4-year-old with autism missing near Jean Lafitte National Park

A spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said the boy has been missing since about 5:30 p.m. Thursday

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Search and rescue crews are searching the waterways and marshes of the Jean Lafitte National Park for a missing boy with autism who disappeared Thursday. 

Officials and family members identified the boy as Ellis Boudean, a 4-year-old  with autism who lives in Marrero.

A JPSO spokesman said the boy went missing around 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the 6300 block of Barataria Boulevard, near the Twin Canals trail in Jean Lafitte National Park.

Officials say the boy went into the water, and that dive teams were involved in the overnight search for the boy. The dive teams remain on standby Friday morning. 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto confirmed to WWL-TV that crews are focusing their search efforts on waterways around where the boy went missing, because volunteers have thoroughly searched the land nearby, leaving officials to conclude the missing child is in the water somewhere. 

Crews from multiple agencies, including the National Parks Service, are assisting JPSO in the search. 

Friday morning, volunteer search crews joined JPSO special ops teams and K9 units searching around the national park for the boy. JPSO officials encouraged more than 75 volunteers who arrived in the area Friday to continue looking on land, but cautioned that the child would likely not be found there. 

The circumstances behind how the child went missing are still unclear as of Friday morning.

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