New details emerged on Friday in the case of a missing 4-year-old North Carolina boy, last seen on Weds. walking away on foot.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Raul Johnson was last seen on Weds. morning, walking barefoot down Village Drive toward Crestline Road in Laurinburg, at around 11:30 a.m. Since then, there has been no sign of him.
At the time of his disappearance, Raul’s grandfather was watching him and his 6-year-old sister while the children’s mother worked. An elderly neighbor who gives the boy cookies and snacks every morning said he walked over to her house as usual on Weds., then walked away when she told him to go home. The neighbor reportedly said that Raul was quiet on Weds. morning and didn’t speak a word to her, which was unusual.
FOX reports that on Fri. afternoon, a Scotland County sheriff indicated that if the boy isn’t found by Friday, the search effort will likely become a “recovery mission.”
Searchers found a child’s footprints in the area near a man-made pond on a farm belonging to owner, Joe Manis. At first, Manis was reluctant to allow authorities to drain his pond, but given the size of the boy’s body, divers could have missed him while searching in the muddy and cloudy water.
“We’re thankful that the family has allowed us on the property for this extended period of time,” Detective Sgt. Jessica Sadovnikov with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office said. “We hope that in the pursuit of justice and safety and what is right for the little boy, the family will continue to allow access to the farm. If they don’t we will take the next step.”
“The public can expect that sworn law enforcement personnel will double if not triple today,” she continued. “Scotland County Sheriff’s Office will continue lead the investigation with the assistance of multiple agencies across North Carolina, the SBI and the FBI.
The FBI and SBI, along with the Cumberland and Richmond county sheriff’s offices joined in on the search efforts to find the little boy. Family members said that Raul wandered off previously, but always returned homes.
Raul stands 3 feet tall and weighs around 38 pounds. He was last seen wearing an striped orange shirt and white pajama pants with rocket ship designs on them. He has black hair and brown eyes.
According to The Laurinburg Exchange, Detective Sgt. Jessica Sadovnikov with the Scotland Ccounty Sheriff’s Office indicated that she’s dealt with the family on numerous occasions in the past. She said Raul didn’t seem the type of boy who would stray too far from home.
“He is not the type of child to just walk off the property and walk four miles down the road where our dogs hit,” Sadovnikov said. “Based on my training experience and interactions with this child, I don’t think he would have ever gone that far alone, there’s no way.”
Sadovnikov didn’t explain the details on why she’s dealt with the family in the past, but court records indicate Raul’s biological father, Carlos Gonzales, is currently on a detainer hold by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), after a Sept. 2017 arrest for seven child molestation charges, including sex assault and indecent liberties with a 6-year-old. The boy’s mother, Annie L. Johnson, 36, was also arrested, but the charges against her were later dropped.
Anyone with any information on Raul’s whereabouts should contact 911 or the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office at 910-276-3385.
[Feature Photo: Raul Johnson/NCDPS]