K9’s will lead new phase in search for children missing in floods

Leighton McComb and William Charba

WIMBERLEY,Texas (KXAN) – The search for two children still missing after the May flooding in Wimberley is entering a new phase, according to the City of San Marcos.

Six-year-old William Charba and four-year-old Leighton McComb were last seen at 100 Deer Crossing in Wimberley when the home they were in was swept away in floodwater.

Previously inaccessible areas near the Blanco River have cleared as the water levels have reduced. That has opened new spots for teams to search.

“We still have not located those children,” said Don Gentry, with Texas Search and Rescue. “So we want to finish what we started.”

Gentry says the new phase will primarily be a dog search.

Several private organizations are sending teams to assist with the new phase including Alamo Area Search and Rescue, and Travis County Search and Rescue. The teams will be in Caldwell County on Friday and Saturday. TEXSAR crews will join the search efforts when the search moves to Hays County on August 21 and 22.

The K9’s help fill a gap during search and rescues.

“One of the big things about canines is they have a resource we don’t have: their nose. A million times better than a human nose,” said Brianna Acevedo, a TEXSAR K9 handler. “Someone that’s been missing for a month, a year. Somebody that could have been missing for a couple of hours.”

The dogs that will be used in upcoming searches are cadaver dogs, trained to find human remains.

“I never lose hope when the dogs are out there, always encouraged when they’re out there,” said Gentry.

Every week since the flood, teams from across the state, including teams from the children’s hometown of Corpus Christi, have been combing areas in Hays and Caldwell Counties in search of the missing children.

Crews have recovered and identified nine bodies of flood victims since the May 24 flood, including friends and relatives of the missing children. No recoveries have been made since early June.

Flood Victims Identified:

• William Randall Charba, age 42, found near Bluffview Drive near Wimberley
• Dayton Larry Thomas, age 74, found in northern San Marcos May 24
• Michelle Marie Carey-Charba, age 43, found May 25 in Caldwell County
• Jose Alvaro Arteaga-Pichardo, age 29, found in the area of Loop 165 in Wimberley May 26
• Jonathan Andrew McComb, age 6, found May 27 near Water Park Road and RR 3237 in Wimberley
• Ralph Hugh Carey, White Male, age 73, found May 28 near Fox Road northwest of San Marcos
• Sue McNeil Carey, White Female, age 71, found May 30 at Lime Kiln and Water Tower Roads in San Marcos
• Laura Schultz McComb, White Female, age 34, found May 30 near the Blanco River near the 700 Block of Bluffview Road in Wimberley
• Kenneth Reissig, White Male, age 81, found May 28 near the Blanco River at Narrows Road, near the Blanco/Hays County line.

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