8 Suspicious New Details About Missing 4-Year-Old North Carolina Boy — And How Both Of His Parents Have A History Of Child Abuse

8 Suspicious New Details About Raul Johnson, The North Carolina Boy Who Went Missing
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He's been missing since Jan. 24.

A search and rescue for a missing 4-year-old boy has turned into an investigation, authorities say.

Raul Johnson was reported missing on Wednesday and an Amber Alert was issued for the boy in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He was last seen wearing striped pajamas with rocket ships on them and wasn’t wearing any shoes.

Raul and his 6-year-old sister were being watched by their grandfather, who noticed the boy was missing around 11:30 a.m. After searching for about 20 minutes, he called 911. Raul’s mother, Annie Johnson, was at work.

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"I just couldn't believe it when he called me. I wished I would have stayed home yesterday," Annie told WRAL Thursday. "He came to me yesterday morning and said, 'Please don't go to work.' And I told him I had to go to work."

He has been missing for 3 days now and the search for the 4-year-old has turned investigative.

“By faith, I believe the little boy is still alive and that’s what I have to stand on,” Scotland County Sheriff Ralph E. Kersey said when asked if he thought Raul was still alive.

Here is everything you need to know about the search for missing 4-year-old Raul Johnson:

1. His father is in jail for child molestation.

Raul’s biological father, Carlos Gonzalez, was arrested in September 2017 on seven counts of child molestation, according to WRAL. He is also being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as he may be an illegal immigrant.

The mother, Annie, was also arrested and charged with child abuse but the charges were later dropped.

2. A neighbor was the last person to see Raul.

According to WRAL, Shirley Stubbs, who lives nearby, said Raul came to her door by himself Wednesday morning around 10:30.

The boy’s mother said he would walk over to the neighbor’s house for cookies and candy each morning but that he never goes alone.

"I said, 'Baby, what do you want?' He still wouldn't say nothing, so I said, 'If you're not going to say what you want, go back home to your papa,'" Stubbs said.

3. Three K-9 units “took the same course” to a nearby pond.

Kersey said three different K-9 units followed the same path from Raul’s house to a nearby pond. Dive teams searched the pond, a canal close by, and some other small bodies of water but had found nothing as of 7 p.m. yesterday.

Investigators are planning to drain the pond.

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4. Someone claimed to have seen Raul.

Kersey said that someone reported seeing the boy at Walmart, but it hasn't been confirmed. Investigators also found a piece of clothing that looked like it could be from Raul’s pajamas, but it has not been confirmed at this point either.

A rumor has also circulated on Facebook and Snapchat that the boy was found and safe.

“There was an individual last night that for whatever reason, posted a picture on Snapchat that he had been located and was safe,” Sadovnikov said. “That got circulated on Facebook. It’s false. We need the public to understand that this juvenile is still missing, and we are still searching.”

5. Raul has wandered away before.

Detective Sgt. Jessica Sadovnikov with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office said that Raul has wandered around his family’s property before, which has a chicken coop and several trailers and sheds, but emphasized that he has never gone so far as to leave the property.

“Based on my training experience and interactions with this child, I don’t think he would have ever gone that far alone, there’s no way,” Sadovnikov said.

6. The search has taken a more “investigative approach.”

Kersey said that the search teams were transitioning from search and rescue to a more “investigative approach,” according to News Observer. The FBI and SBI have joined the effort in an attempt to locate the missing boy.

“We’ve got trained people out there, they’ve come from all over North and South Carolina, and hopefully this will be over soon,” Kersey said.

7. No foul play is suspected at this point.

"There is nothing that we have found in the interviews we have done with the family members, with the neighbors, with the information that has been provided from the public that would indicate that we are dealing with foul play," Kersey told WRAL.

8. As of now, there are no leads.

Kersey said that no evidence has been found that could lead them “any closer” to finding the missing boy but they are not about to give up.

“Until we get something that indicates that there’s no hope ... we’ll continue to do what we’re doing now,” Kersey said. “I’m praying that we can move forward and continue to treat this as a search and rescue.”

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