Missing w Autism: Jayliel Batista, 5 - Allentown, PA-12/31/2015

Last Updated Jan 2, 2016 1:45 PM EST

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Police on Saturday recanvassed an eastern Pennsylvania neighborhood where a 5-year-old boy with autism wandered away from a New Year's Eve party without shoes or a coat.

Allentown police Capt. Glen Dorney said 20 search-and-rescue dog teams were looking for Jayliel Vega Batista.

The boy was downstairs playing with a toy with some other children when he left the home at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, said his 16-year-old sister, Tayritza Molina. The boy was visiting his great-aunt's home for the holiday, and left barefoot and without any kind of outerwear, police said.

Police were going door to door in the boy's neighborhood again on Saturday because efforts to track him into some nearby woods were unsuccessful. But they said a glut of volunteer searchers was complicating efforts to find the boy.

"We're proud of them for stepping up in the force that they've done," Dorney said, but there were so many volunteers in the woods and elsewhere, it was compromising the ability of the dogs and others to locate the boy.

Instead, police asked people who live in the area to thoroughly search their own property and parked cars periodically, in case the boy comes wandering in search of shelter. Police said anyone who comes in contact with the child should keep him in sight and call 911 immediately, CBS Philly reports.

Police checked out a home at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday after someone thought they saw the boy's face in an upstairs window but said the boy wasn't there.

Police hoped to use helicopters again to search for the boy on Saturday, but Dorney said the aircraft were tied up on another matter. The helicopters are equipped with night-vision devices that also enable searchers to detect body warmth.

Crews also searched some nearby railyards and the Lehigh River. They were concerned because temperatures were near freezing overnight and forecast to hit only the high 30s on Saturday.


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