ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Anchorage police are now considering the case of two young brothers who disappeared from their South Anchorage neighborhood a week ago a criminal abduction.
Interviews with half a dozen family members have turned up no evidence that Malcolm Johnson, 8, and Isaiah Johnson, 5, were kidnapped by a relative, Police Chief Walt Monegan said.
Family members ''are just as concerned as we are,'' Monegan said.
In addition, days of searching by police officers and volunteers who covered 22 square miles of forested parkland, streets, back yards, ditches and other nearby areas turned up no trace of the brothers, police said.
''So they didn't just wander off,'' Monegan said.
That leaves one possibility, he said: The boys were taken against their will.
''Through a process of elimination, we're fairly sure it's a criminal act, that the boys were abducted by a stranger,'' Monegan said. ''We're fairly confident that it's not the other two'' possibilities.
Because of the narrower focus, police today plan to re-evaluate the number of officers and detectives assigned to the case and may relieve some of them so they can attend to their other duties, Monegan said.
''We may end up with a smaller staff'' on the case, he said.
The missing boys are two of four children who live with their mother, Brandi Johnson. The others are a 12-year-old boy, Randy, and Isaiah's twin sister, Alaysha. The missing boys' father lives in the Midwest.
Both the FBI and the organization A Child Is Missing have reviewed the techniques used so far by Anchorage police to investigate the boys' disappearance, Monegan said. The agencies used hundreds of other child-abduction cases and a checklist of possible police actions.
''They said we're doing the right things,'' he said.
Investigators could not come up with a psychological profile of a potential kidnapper, because there is no crime scene to work with, Monegan said.
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