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'Heck of a day!' | Sheriff Sowell on finding missing Grimes Co. toddler

Christopher Ramirez, 3, was found about five miles from his home. He is alive and well, according to authorities.

GRIMES COUNTY, Texas — The search for 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez is officially over. The Grimes County toddler was found alive and well about five miles from where he was last seen nearly four days ago in Plantersville.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said Christopher is going to the hospital to get checked out. Araceli Nunez, Christopher's mother, has been reunited with her son.

"She's been a great lady," Sheriff Sowell said in regards to Nunez. "She did not lose faith. She is a fantastic, strong lady."

Sheriff Sowell said a tip from a citizen led them to an area and that's where they found the boy a "happy little three-year-old." Sowell said paramedics also responded to the scene and were able to start giving Christopher fluids. Shortly after, Nunez arrived to take her son into her arms.

Just before noon, Grimes Co. Judge Joe Fauth walked up to KAGS reporters William Johnson and Elisabeth Tharp, not able to contain the wide smile. "You're gonna wanna turn on your cameras for this," Judge Fauth said. Moments later, he said the words so many have been waiting to hear.

"We've got him. He's safe and sound. It's a happy day in Grimes County," Fauth said.

11:56 A.M.

Christopher Ramirez, the missing 3-year-old boy has been found! This is confirmed by Grimes Co. Judge Joe Fauth. In an emotional announcement, Judge Fauth could barely contain his excitement. "Todo esta bien!" he cried.

According to Fauth, Christopher was found about five miles from his home. He is alive and well, just dehydrated. Fauth thanked all of the rescue crews.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell was all smiles. He continued to thank the search and rescue teams. Sheriff Sowell said Christopher drank a lot of water and has been reunited with his mother. He is being taken to the hospital to be checked out but Sheriff Sowell said he is a "happy" baby. We will continue to update you as information comes in.

10:00 A.M.

Throughout the overnight hours and into the morning, search teams have been out looking for 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez who has been missing now for nearly four days.

Here's what we know:

  • Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said a boy spotted at the Mexico/U.S. border was not Christopher Ramirez. Law enforcement in Grimes County confirmed the 3-year-old boy, also named Christopher, was not the missing toddler through photograph identification. The photos were also shown to the missing toddler's family, and Sheriff Sowell said they confirmed the boy was not their Christopher.
  • Sheriff Sowell maintains at this time there is no evidence to suggest Christopher was abducted or that foul play was involved in his disappearance. Sheriff Sowell said law enforcement, however, won't rule anything out until it is fully investigated.
  • Christopher's stepfather is a convicted sex offender. This is confirmed by Sheriff Sowell. However, the sheriff said the man has been cleared by law enforcement and was not in the area at the time of Christopher's disappearance. Sheriff Sowell confirmed Christopher's family has fully cooperated with law enforcement.
  • The search team has expanded the perimeter of the search just slightly and is going back over previously searched areas to make sure nothing has been missed.
  • Sheriff Sowell confirmed there have been no phone calls, tips or leads that have come to police.
  • Sheriff Sowell declared the search is still a rescue; he said the teams won't stop until Christopher is found. 

You can stay up to date with our video playlist:

FRIDAY

10:00 P.M.

As day three of the search for a missing toddler out of Grimes County comes to a close, there are no new leads in the case. Christopher Ramirez disappeared Wednesday, October 6 and was last seen near a wooded area near his home in Plantersville.

More than 150 members of law enforcement, first responders, K9 officers and professional search and rescue teams have been on scene, crisscrossing a search grid, even going back to search again and make sure nothing was missed. However, there have been no clues as to where the toddler may have gone.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell says despite no clues or new leads, the attitude at the search scene is optimistic. He said he is not going to give up until Christopher is brought home. At this time, he said there is no evidence of foul play or an abduction, however, he will not rule out any potential possibility until it is fully investigated.

6:30 P.M.

In an interview with KAGS, Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said the search teams have pushed out the perimeter slightly and gone over ground already searched just to make sure nothing was missed the first few times. Sheriff Sowell said he was excited when law enforcement officials at the Mexico border called him to say they had a 3-year-old boy named Christopher, however, through photo confirmation, it turned out it was not the missing boy.

"I was so excited. Everything fit," Sheriff Sowell said. "I was hoping to come to you all -- we got him. But it wasn't meant to be."

Despite the setback, Sheriff Sowell said he isn't quitting. He isn't calling back any search and rescue efforts and he said they remain committed to bringing Christopher home.

4:30 P.M.

A 3-year-old boy named Christopher was found at the Mexico/U.S. border, but the Grimes County Sheriff's Office confirmed it is not Christopher Ramirez. Sheriff Sowell said pictures sent from law enforcement at the border to Grimes County were given to Christopher's family. They confirmed the boy found at the border is not their boy.

Grimes County Deputy Martha Smith, who has been with the family from the very beginning, said the family is heartbroken. Deputy Smith said the family has cooperated fully with law enforcement and only wants Christopher to return home.

Sheriff Sowell confirmed what Deputy Smith said and expressed the family has been fully cooperative. Sheriff Sowell said they will continue to search no matter how much time it takes. He confirmed at this time, there is no reason to believe Christopher was abducted, but again, will continue to track down any and all leads that come in.

1:00 P.M.

It's been nearly 48 hours since 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez has been missing from his home in Plantersville. A witness told law enforcement Christopher was last seen chasing a dog into a nearby wooded area. His mother, Araceli Nunez, said she took her eyes off of him for just a moment before he vanished.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said Christopher's stepfather is a registered sex offender and one of two living in the area. However, Sheriff Sowell said the stepfather was not near the scene at the time of Christopher's disappearance. The sheriff said that was an angle that had already been checked out early in the investigation and has been cleared. The other offender was also cleared in the case, according to the sheriff's interview Thursday.

10:00 A.M.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell and Tim Miller with Texas EquuSearch said the search for 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez is still ongoing. They are continuing to criss-cross their search grid and slowly expand out.

The search teams are experts and there is no call for volunteers at this time, said Sheriff Sowell. He said law enforcement doesn't want too many people on the grid to preserve the area for law enforcement investigation.

Sheriff Sowell said there have been no tips to law enforcement, dispatchers or to Crime Stoppers about this case that would indicate that foul play was involved.

Miller said the search is about a process of elimination because the area is so large for a small boy. While they are facing challenges, they are working through them. One of those challenges is the weather, which has been cooperative so far, Sheriff Sowell said, however, as the temperature slowly rises, humans and K9 officers need to take more frequent breaks to stay healthy.

Here's what we know:

  • More than 150 people are on the scene and are trained for situations like this. They know what to look for and how to search an area to preserve evidence.
  • There is no call for search volunteers from civilians at this time. Please do not come to the scene and request to search. While the Sheriff said he is grateful that people want to help, the search teams right now that are needed are professionals.
  • At least three small bodies of water have been drained, but Christopher was not found.
  • Search teams continue to criss-cross the area.

THURSDAY

11:30 P.M.

The search teams have thinned out as the overnight hours begin, but Sheriff Don Sowell said the search won't stop. They continue to call out Christopher's name. K9 officers and search dogs continue to work the area on foot. "It is still very much a rescue," Sheriff Sowell insisted. He echoed the same words he spoke on day 1. "We will not stop until the boy is found."

"Ayudame, por favor," Araceli Nunez, the mother of Christopher Ramirez, cried out to the community. "Help me, please." Her heartbreaking plea was heard throughout the search area as the clock officially reached 24 hours since she last saw her son. She said Christopher needs his mother and she just wants him to come home.

8:00 P.M.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell insisted in a press conference Thursday night that the search for Christopher Ramirez is still very much a "rescue." He said every single law enforcement agency, first responder agency and volunteer search team is dedicated to finding the toddler and returning him to his mother's arms.

While Sheriff Sowell said there is no evidence to indicate Christopher has been abducted, authorities are not ruling anything out. They have questioned people in the area as to what they may have seen the day the boy went missing, even checked on two known sex offenders in the area. Sowell said the two people were cleared of any connection to the disappearance.

Sowell said if he had to estimate, there is roughly 125 to 150 people actively looking for Christopher. Tim Miller, with Texas EquuSearch, said it is important to stick to the facts in a case like this. While it is unknown just how far a 3-year-old could get on his own, they will hold on to hope that Christopher is still alive and well.

UPDATE ON SEARCH FOR MISSING GRIMES CO. TODDLER

Authorities have called a press conference on the search for Christopher Ramirez, 3, who has been missing for more than 24 hours. Read more: https://www.kagstv.com/article/news/crime/grimes-county-search-missing-boy-dog-woods/499-18df3657-8214-427e-94bb-fd09885b098e

Posted by KAGS TV on Thursday, October 7, 2021

7:00 P.M.

Authorities said little has changed in the last four to five hours since Araceli Nunez, the mother of 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez, pleaded for help in finding her son.

We are now in hour 29 and there is still no sign of the toddler. More than two dozen agencies are working around the clock but as light began to fade on day 2, authorities said they are no closer to finding out what happened to the boy.

However, Sheriff Don Sowell said, they all refuse to give up.

In an interview with KAGS News, Christina Garza, who is with the FBI, answered several questions many people are asking about the investigation. She said search and rescue teams continue to work in the area because the boy hasn't yet been found.

1:30 p.m.

The mother of Christopher Ramirez, the toddler who has been missing from his Grimes County home for 24 hours now, said she had only taken her eyes off her son for two minutes before he vanished.

She said the second she noticed he was gone, she began to run and began yelling his name but she never heard a response.

Araceli Nunez is begging for the public to help her find her son. Because he has been gone for this long and has not been found, she said she believes someone has taken him and is hiding him.

Sheriff Don Sowell said at this time, there is not evidence Christopher was abducted, but authorities are exploring every possibility. In his 23 years in Grimes County, Sheriff Sowell said he has never seen or heard anything like this.

Nearly two dozen agencies are now at the scene, helping to search. The sheriff has asked at this time that citizens do not show up to search. If volunteers are needed, the sheriff will make a formal call.

12:30 p.m.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said there is no new information on the search for 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez. Ramirez has been missing since 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The FBI has arrived on scene and several agencies continue to form search parties in an effort to cover as much ground as possible. Sheriff Sowell said there are no new leads in the case at this time.

9:00 a.m.

Several law enforcement agencies continued their search for 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez throughout the night. Sheriff Don Sewell told KAGS News late Tuesday night crews would not stop until Ramirez is found.

Here's what we know:

  • Authorities were called to the 10000 block of Deer Park Lane near Plantersville in Grimes County just before 2 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Authorities were told Christopher Ramirez, 3, was last seen chasing a neighbor's dog near a wooded area of the Firefox subdivision.
  • Ramirez was last seen wearing a lime green shirt and red Mickey Mouse shoes. It is not known what color his shorts were.
  • Several law enforcement agencies from around the Brazos Valley, including the TDCJ and DPS responded to the scene to help search. There are K9 officers on the scene, drones and a helicopter from DPS to help. Groups of civilians have also come to volunteer to search, however, there is not a formal call by law enforcement for volunteers at this time.
  • It is known Ramirez likes to play in and around vehicles, according to his family.
  • The dog Ramirez was last seen chasing returned home.
  • Dive and rescue teams are on the scene to search any bodies of water within the search grid.
  • At this time, Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said they do not suspect foul play and believe Ramirez to be close by.

We will continue to update you throughout the day. You can also keep track of our videos from the scene on our YouTube playlist which will be updated throughout the day.

Below you will find a timeline of events in the search for Ramirez.

WEDNESDAY

11:45 P.M.

While some of the crowd has thinned out, law enforcement, first responders and community members remain on scene continuing to search for Christopher Ramirez.

10:45 P.M.

Authorities said they have received new information from members of Ramirez's family that he likes to play in vehicles. The search team gathered and decided they would once again search each and every vehicle throughout the subdivision.

Teams will also be searching all sheds, pools and other places that look like good hiding spots.

8:30 P.M.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell confirmed a dog has returned from the woods where authorities have been searching for Christopher Ramirez. Sheriff Sowell said they have covered more than a square mile of wooded area but have not been able to find the boy.

K9 units with TDCJ as well as DPS helicopters have been working with authorities on the ground. Groups of citizens in and around the Plantersville area have also arrived on scene to help search for Ramirez, but a call for volunteers has not been made at this time.

Several agencies are on scene to provide support, including a dive and rescue team to help search any bodies of water.

Sheriff Sowell said he does not have any reason to believe there is foul play involved and that he is hoping Ramirez will be rescued soon. He said authorities will not stop until Ramirez is found.

7 P.M.

A boy from Grimes County has been declared missing by authorities after he allegedly went chasing after a loose dog and hasn't been seen since.

Chuck Fleeger with the Amber Alert Network of the Brazos Valley said the boy has been identified as Christopher Ramirez, 3. He is three feet tall and weighs about 45 pounds. Ramirez only speaks Spanish but will respond to his name, according to authorities. 

Authorities said the boy has been missing since 2 p.m. Wednesday from the 10,000 block of Deer Park Lane in the Foxfire subdivision. Ramirez was last seen wearing a bright green shirt with Mickey Mouse shoes. Authorities are also going house to house in the area.

A DPS helicopter is also flying in the area to see if they can spot the boy from the air. Amber Alert Network of the Brazos Valley is also at the scene to help search for the boy.

This is a developing story. We will have a crew on the scene shortly and will update you as more information is released.