Claiborne Parish boy missing for one year: 'No leads, no Junior.'
April 5, 2018, changed a community, a family, and the life of a child forever.
Rondreiz Cortez "Junior" Phillips went missing from Claiborne Parish. His family says he was playing in the front yard of their home on Howard Road in Lisbon, Louisiana. He was four years old at the time of his disappearance but would be five today.
The mother, Shelia, says they had only lived in the area for three weeks. Her boyfriend at the time was Nick Gilbert.
Gilbert and his family who also lived on Howard Road were allegedly the last people to see Junior. They say it was around 11:30 A.M.
Shortly after being reported missing, hundreds of community members and law enforcement officers began searching nearby woods. Detectives say they even drained ponds and checked several water wells and drains, but turned up nothing.
With a week, Junior's case was picked up by the FBI.
Dennis Butcher with Claiborne Parish Homeland Security says they are still investigating Junior's case. Unfortunately, they have no new leads or evidence.
"This case screams at you: Find me," Butcher said. "It weighs on you every day. We thought we would find this child relatively quick."
He says during the first few weeks of the investigation they exhausted their resources. Butcher says they pinged cell phones, drained ponds, and even used drones to search the area.
Butcher also says they collected camera footage from commercial trucks that passed through the area. He says none of the footage showed anything out of the ordinary.
"It's just as if the Earth swallowed him up and he's gone. We haven't found him yet," Butcher said. "Just vanished from an extremely rural portion of Claiborne Parish."
He said they also used trained personnel and K-9 officers, but neither could pick up anything that would lead to Junior's whereabouts. Butcher says he does not believe Junior's disappearance was a random act.
"You don't just drive in that area," he said. "Somebody somewhere knows something."
Junior was last wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and yellow and black rubber boots. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Claiborne Parish Sheriff at 318) 927-2011.
There is a $10,000 reward for anyone with information leading to Junior.