Intense search turns up no track of missing brothers

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A massive search of a South Anchorage neighborhood has failed to turn up any sign of two young brothers who disappeared Monday.

Malcolm Johnson, 8, and Isaiah Johnson, 5, were last seen between 6 and 7 p.m. Monday walking along the street near their home.

I believe somebody just snatched my children,'' Brandi Johnson said Tuesday. They're good children. I don't understand why somebody hasn't seen them.''

Police had no indication or leads that the children had been abducted or any other scenario, said Thomas McClenaghan, special agent-in-charge at the FBI in Anchorage.

It's still up in the air right now,'' McClenaghan said.

The brothers were shy boys who wouldn't approach a stranger and didn't like playing in the woods or in the cold, Johnson added. They have an older brother, Randy, 12, and Isaiah has a twin sister, Alaysha.

Police teams and more than 100 volunteers fanned out through the quiet streets and scrubby woods stretching toward Far North Bicentennial Park all night and day in a futile search for any clue to what happened to the boys.

The effort mobilized volunteer search parties, teams with dogs, people on all-terrain vehicles and an Army National Guard helicopter with infrared cameras. Automated phone calls were made to all the homes in the zip code. Police contacted commuters leaving and entering the neighborhood.

Volunteers went house to house with 30 police officers, Detective Joe Hoffbeck said. Other teams were walking along Campbell Creek and continuing to scour the woods.

Johnson, a single mother, said during the press conference that she didn't know of anybody who would take the boys. Police identified the father of the children as Malcolm Deloch but said he had been living in the Midwest.

I don't think there has been any contact between the two of them for many years,'' Hoffbeck said. We're attempting to make contact with him to find out where he is.''

Johnson said she sent out her 12-year-old son to find his siblings after the two didn't return home by about 7:30 p.m. Monday. Within a short time, she and neighbors were knocking on doors. Various neighbors said they had seen the boys walking on Doil at different times in the previous hour.

Neighbor Debbie Barnett said her 23-year-old son was out with the boys around 7 that night, goofing around with a remote control car before he had to leave to eat dinner.

He was running it at them, and they were jumping it,'' she said.

Barnett said she frequently saw the boys playing outside, but they always stayed in the confines of their block.

They were good-mannered kids,'' she said. It's horrifying.''

Johnson reported the boys missing at 8:09 p.m., according to police logs. The search ramped up quickly over the next hour or so, Hoffbeck said. The police search and rescue auxiliary was called out by about 10:30 p.m., and more than 100 people spent the night tramping the woods, trails and swamps that cover the area between the neighborhood and the park, said group coordinator Mike Harrington.

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