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Community gathers at prayer vigil for Kyle Doan in San Miguel

Posted at 7:55 AM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 10:55:00-04

The family of Kyle Doan is holding out hope their son will be found more than two months after the five-year-old was swept away by flood waters near San Miguel.

Dozens of people gathered at the San Miguel Community Park Thursday night for a prayer vigil to offer a message of support and hope to Kyle’s family.

“The power of prayer is strong right now. That’s really the biggest thing we can use from the community,” said search volunteer Jessica Krelli who was at Thursday night’s vigil.

Community members gathered to pray that Doan’s family finds closure following a parent’s worst nightmare.

“We’re trying to get out the message that Kyle is still missing, that he needs to be found,” said Pastor Michael Duran who helped organize the vigil.

Kyle was swept away by raging floodwater on January 9 as his mother drove him to school. More than two months later, Kyle has not been found.

“When somebody’s going through something and they don’t see a result-- evidence that there’s a chance of hope—people can get heartsick, really heavy,” said Duran.

Leaders of three local churches are working together to help the Doan family cope with tragedy while keeping hope alive that Kyle will be found.

People from all over have been helping with the family’s search efforts, and many attended Thursday’s prayer vigil.

“Every free hour that we have, we’re out there with the family,” said Krelli, who has been driving nearly 70 miles from Santa Maria to San Miguel on a regular basis to help find Kyle. “I’ve been coming every weekend and sometimes during the week.”

The family is using search dogs to look for any signs of Kyle in areas of the Salinas riverbed that currently aren’t underwater.

“Right now, every one of us is itching to be out there but we can’t because it’s flooded,” said Krelli.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office plans to resume wide-scale search efforts as soon as conditions dry out.

“We have a plan in place, we have the resources,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson, who says it’s been too dangerous for crews to search the Salinas riverbed in recent weeks.

He adds that continued flooding has transformed the Salinas riverbed in the months since Kyle was swept away.

“These storms have changed everything again so, we’re virtually going to be almost starting over,” explained Sheriff Parkinson.