A Central Coast family is in a desperate search for their missing child and local law enforcement is working every day to bring Kyle Doan home.
The 5-year-old went missing Monday, Jan. 9. He and his mom were on their way to Lillian Larsen Elementary School in San Miguel when their vehicle was overtaken by floodwaters at the San Marcos Creek east crossing.
“I saw his head kind of floating and he was looking at me and he was going backward for a little bit,” Kyle’s mother, Lindsy Doan, said in an interview last week with the Associated Press.
That was the last time the 5-year-old was seen.
Search and rescue personnel, specially-trained dive team members from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, and hundreds of others, including the California National Guard, have combed the banks of San Marcos Creek and the Salinas River for signs of Kyle.
In an interview Thursday with KSBY Anchor Richard Gearhart, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson says they have no plans to stop until Kyle is found.
“From our perspective, we want to bring him home. The family is obviously heartbroken so any reasonable steps that we can take to make that happen is really our goal,” Sheriff Parkinson said.
A couple of dozen officers along with drone pilots and California Highway Patrol helicopter crews continue their efforts every day, looking for any signs of the missing boy.
Community members are desperate to help, but Sheriff Parkinson is urging people to stay away and let law enforcement do their job.
“We’re taking very methodical searches — search and rescue, dive team — we’re recording everything we’ve searched and tagging it and then monitoring it for condition changes,” Sheriff Parkinson said. "If someone were to go out there and start pulling up piles and moving things, it’s almost a repeat effort for us.”
He cautions it’s not the number of searchers, but the weather and river conditions that are hampering the search.
“We do have enough personnel. We did have a mutual aid case number pulled with the state. That’s what produced the dive teams from the other counties. It produced a large contingent from CAL FIRE, the Army National Guard to help, so we have the ability to secure personnel. The challenge still is the water levels,” the sheriff said. “Our hope is that we’ll have significant opportunity this weekend and we’re planning a fairly major opportunity this weekend to search all those areas, so you’ll see a large contingent out this Saturday and Sunday.”
But with every passing day, hope fades. When asked when search efforts could potentially be scaled back, Sheriff Parkinson replied by saying, “Well, it’s a good question. The answer I’d really like is that we’d scale it back when we find him, but realistically, when we believe we’ve exhausted all reasonable efforts.”
Santa Barbara County went through a similar search with the debris flows in Montecito that killed 23 people.
Sherriff Parkinson says members of their dive team have assisted. One of the victims washed away during that disaster in 2018 still has never been found.
Thursday, while in northern California touring parts of Santa Cruz County devastated by last week's storm, both President Joe Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom mentioned the tragedy involving Kyle Doan and the ongoing search efforts to locate him.