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Missing 4-year-old: Crews will work through the night to drain canal

Dive teams have struggled over the past several days because of poor conditions in the water.

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office will continue efforts to drain part of a canal in Jean Lafitte National Park through the night and search the canal bed for a missing 4-year-old who reportedly disappeared from the shore last week. 

The search for Ellis Baudean began Thursday after he reportedly went missing while on a walk with his mother and 3-year-old sister. 

Several social media posts began pouring in, asking for help in finding the missing boy.

Volunteer teams over the weekend searched the swampy land near the canal, while JPSO and other law enforcement agencies trawled the waterway for Baudean . 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said they do not have any evidence the boy is on land, and said officials fully expect to find him in the water. 

"This is a sad situation and we’re trying to give them some type of closure. They’re appreciative of our efforts," Lopinto said.

Dive teams have struggled over the past several days because of poor conditions in the water. An infestation of duckweed — a tough aquatic plant — and debris such as fishhooks embedded along the bottom of the canal have made the underwater search slow and difficult. 

"Everything's on schedule right now, working, in my opinion, better than expected," Lopinto said. "We'll hopefully have a conclusion today, tomorrow, the next day, but we're working in the right direction."

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