Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Police Chief Keith Morris and Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grimm will hold a press conference Saturday providing updates on the search for a 5-year-old boy with autism who went missing just before the new year struck.
Jayliel Vega Batista wandered away from his family's New Year's Eve party in the area of S. Aubrey and E. South Streets in Allentown at 11 p.m. Thursday, police and his family said.
He was not wearing shoes, socks or a coat.
"He was playing downstairs with his toy like he was supposed to with all the other kids and then he left out of nowhere," Tayritza Molina, the boy's sister, said.
"I don't know what he's going through, I'm really scared," Molina said, fighting back tears.
Chief Morris told NBC10 the search area is expanding through the eastern Pennsylvania city's east side. Morris asked residents in the area to check their backyards, sheds, bushes and any other potential hiding place.
During the search Saturday, officials pulled out an electronic tablet from the water at Canal Park on E. Walnut Street. Officials have not yet confirmed whether the tablet belongs to the boy.
Residents are being asked to not shout the boy's name because it may frighten him. Residents are also being asked to avoid potential search areas as it may disrupt heat-seeking technology.
The private search group Wolfpack Search and Recovery is flying a drone over areas that are hard to check on foot. The boy's family asked them to join the search.
Police canines and helicopters are also trying to find Batista by searching through rail yards and the nearby Lehigh River. They're concerned about the boy braving the near-freezing temperatures without the proper clothing.
Police said the boy may run if approached, so anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 immediately.
Morris said they will continue to search for the boy until he is found.