MONROE CO., Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert for a missing 6-year-old out of Tellico Plains.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Alijah Kensinger went missing shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Detective Jason Phillyew told WVLT they believe that the Alijah wandered off and is lost somewhere in the woods.
“We think he’s gone in the woods, gotten turned around, possibly injured himself and couldn’t find his way back.” said Phillyew.
According to officials, Alijah went to play in the woods in the backyard with his dog. Soon after, the dog came back wet and without Alijah.
Officials are now checking all the creeks and bodies of water nearby. It did rain during the day, according to officials.
Phillyew said the cold, the dark, and terrain has become a challenge at this point for search parties. About 30 people were searching on foot Thursday night into Friday morning.
Officials said two highway patrol helicopters and a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation plane are all searching the air.
More than 100 people assisted in the search, according to police. An air search resumed earlier Friday morning.
Residents said the woods are dense, hilly and hard to navigate.
“Unless you’re from the boonies and the sticks, you don’t need to be here. It’s hard enough looking for a kid. We don’t need to be looking for adults, too,” said resident Eli Thompson.
Kensinger went missing under the care of his grandmother.
Both his mom and dad have been contacted by police on the status of their son’s disappearance. The father lives in Monroe County, and the mother is from out-of-state, according to police.
No suspects have been taken into custody at this time.
Kensinger is 4 feet tall, 55 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen wearing a grey hooded jacket with a red zipper, jeans, and orange and black sneakers.
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