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Water to be pumped from park canal where child disappeared

July 20, 2021 GMT

MARRERO, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana prepared Tuesday to drain part of a canal in a swampy, heavily wooded park near New Orleans in a search for the remains of a missing child.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto told reporters that it’s part of an effort to bring some sense of closure to the family of 4-year-old Ellis Baudean.

The child went missing Thursday evening in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve as he walked with his mother and younger sibling. Foul play is not suspected.

“The mother was walking back to her car and heard something. She didn’t know if it was a splash,” Lopinto said in an account in The Times-Picayune’The New Orleans Advocate. He said at the time that the mother jumped in the murky water but was unable to locate the child.

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Lopinto said Monday that divers have been unable to find any sign of the child in the debris- and vegetation-filled canal. He said there was “zero” visibility in the water.

Under a plan that Lopinto said was approved quickly by the National Park Service, a temporary clay dam was to be built in the waterway and the water will be pumped out to facilitate the search. State wildlife officials would be on hand to monitor effects on animals in the area, Lopinto said.