(Staff photo by George Anderson )
SENATH, Mo. -- Authorities have confirmed that two of the three items of interest found in the past two days in the case of Breeann Rodriguez, 3, are training wheels, however, they have not directly tied them to the case.
According to Senath Police Chief Omar Karnes, the training wheels were found on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, and have been sent off to the crime lab.
"We aren't sure they are hers," Karnes said. "We can't rule them out."
When asked what lead to the items of interest, the police official said, "Some of our searches happened upon a piece of evidence and contacted me. We secured the area and found some more."
When asked about the evidence sent to the crime lab earlier this week, Karnes said it has come back, but hasn't provided any relevant clues. He also said he is hoping to get DNA off of the newer items.
"They got that back," Karnes said. "So far, none of it has really panned out to be anything."
Karnes said the items of interest make him believe that "Somebody is trying to hide something." He added that he doesn't believe the items that were found may have been there before and been overlooked.
"I don't know if it was searched real thoroughly the first time, but this last search, yes, it turned up something," Karnes said. "We've expanded it from there."
(Photo courtesy of NCMEC, www.missingkids.com)
"It is just one of many [possibilities]," Karnes said, adding that the FBI has worked more than 200 tips. "They've chased down leads...every little thing.
"It looks like there may be a trail shaping up," the officer said. When asked in what direction the trail was leading, he replied, "Circles."
Karnes said he has not ruled out the possibility that the new clues are being planted in an attempt to mislead authorities.
"We haven't ruled that out," Karnes said. "That is why I can't elaborate on what it is [that has been found]. We don't want any false evidence placed somewhere."
When asked the current status of the case, Karnes said it is still top priority.
"It's still as fresh as it was on day one," Karnes said. "We haven't changed anything we're doing. We're searching...going back over places and searching again. Keep on keeping on. Never give up. We've got to keep going. We can't give up."
As for the rumors about a white van at Paragould, Ark., trying to lure children in, Karnes said it has been checked out and nothing has materialized.
Rodriguez' parents, Edgar Rodriguez and Claudia Ramos, said authorities haven't told them very much about the items of interest that have been found.
"They say they don't want to tell us something that is not relevant," Rodriguez said as he and his wife searched the grassy area south of Senath where the two items of interest were found. "They are still looking for that white van. As far as the community goes, everybody we talk to says they didn't see anything."
"We know somebody saw something," Ramos said. "They just don't want to tell us."
"We got some new neighbors in front," Rodriguez said. "If anything would have happened on that road, they would know about it. They didn't see nothing. So, I don't know."
The couple said they were not sure how nothing was seen, as the neighborhood enjoys watching children play.
As for the time the child went missing, Rodriguez said his daughter didn't leave the house until after 10 a.m.
"I didn't leave the house until about 10 [a.m.], to go to that auction," Rodriguez said. "Breeann was still asleep when I left. It had to be after 10 at least. [Ramos] is saying it was closer to 11. She had to get up, brush her teeth, get dressed, and eat cereal before she went outside. It was about 11 o'clock when she went outside and about 11:30 when she went missing. We spend about 30 minutes or 45 minutes looking for her before we called 911.
"[Ramos] seen her about five minutes before. Before Austin came inside, she just seen her outside about five minutes before that. You're talking about five minutes, two or three minutes that Austin went inside, you are talking less than 10 minutes [and she was gone]."
Rodriguez said he was pushing authorities to issue an Amber Alert, but was told the case didn't miss the criteria.
"I guess it doesn't even meet the criteria for an abduction," Rodriguez said. "How far can she possibly ride her bike. Look at where we are looking at. There is no way my daughter was going to ride her bike over here and get lost."
Rodriguez said his daughter never left the street when riding her bike, adding that she was kind of shy.
Rodriguez went missing near her home on Ode Johnson Street at approximately 12-noon on Saturday, Aug. 6. She was last seen wearing pink clothes, pigtails, and was riding a pink bicycle with training wheels.
Authorities say the case is still being classified as a missing persons case, however, the FBI say they are treating it as an abduction.
On Monday, a joint reward in the amount of $45,000 was announced for the "successful return and prosecution of person or persons responsible for the disappearance, if someone did take her."
If anyone has information on this missing child, please contact the Senath Police Department at (573)738-2818, or the Dunklin County Sheriff's Department at (573)888-2424. Tips can remain anonymous.