Search for missing 9-year-old ends in tragedy
November 3, 2007
The search for a 9-year-old boy has been called off this morning after authorities found what appears to be the body of a child in the charred remains of a shed that caught fire last night.
According to Sheriff Kenny Furlong,a deputy starting today’s search walked past the frame of the burned out shed in the daylight when he made the gruesome discovery.
“It wasn’t until the sun came up that you could see the body,” Furlong said. The discovery came just before 8 a.m.
The boy’s mother Sylvia Parmenter has been notified and is with the sheriff’s chaplain and her family.
Patrick Ryea was last seen about 5 p.m. Friday when he went outside to play in the 7200 block of Schulz Drive, just south of the Stewart Indian Reservation and west of Northern Nevada Correctional Center. While his mother was out looking for him, she saw her neighbor’s shed fire and called 911, she said.
The shed is three houses away from Patrick’s home. The property owner broke down in tears when he was notified this morning.
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Search and Rescue crews from three counties canvassed the fields and homes in the area in a search for the boy through the night.
Authorities believe the child had started the fires and somehow got trapped inside the shed.
Fire crews arrived on the scene yesterday just before 7 p.m. to extinguish the shed fire, when two other fires, now believed to have been smoldering, ignited on the property. While crews worked those other fires, the child’s mother reported him missing.
“Playing with matches is more common than what we’d like, as parents to admit,” said Battalion Chief Dan Shirey. “lt’s not like it’s an epidemic and it doesn’t make him a bad kid. It’s a bad ending. People should not react like it’s horrible parenting or a bad household. It’s something that happens. People forget sometimes what it was like to be a kid.”
More than 35 search and rescue personnel canvassed a four-square-mile area around the 7177 Schulz Drive home throughout the night. Temperatures overnight dipped to 27 degrees.
When crews arrived, a shed near the home was fully engulfed in flames and fire destroyed both the shed and a vehicle nearby. While getting that fire under control, a second and third fire were discovered in a fifth-wheel trailer and a carport on the property, said Furlong.
The trailer was also destroyed, but the carport fire was extinguished before any damage was done.
Investigators initially looked into the possibility that the fires were set as a diversionary tactic by someone to abduct the child, but after interviewing several people and finding small footprints at the fire sites, investigators shifted their theory to the likelihood that the boy started the fires and was hiding.
Furlong said Washoe, Lyon and Douglas counties were called in to assist. Douglas County was to take over the search this morning. A helicopter from Fallon Naval Air Station also aided in the search.
A Child is Missing telephone call went out to a number of homes in Carson City and Douglas County on Friday alerting residents to the boy’s description.