ARAB, Ala. -- The mother of the missing 8-year-old boy whose disappearance prompted an Emergency Missing Child Alert is corresponding with police.
Wyatt Ray Sanford was last seen Monday afternoon at Brindlee Mountain Primary School. Police say his mother, Belinda Ann Miller Curvin, unenrolled him from school.
Tuesday an Emergency Missing Child Alert was issued. Since then, hours of investigation have gone into finding out where Wyatt and his mother are.
Tuesday night, Curvin reached out to the Arab Police Department and continued to call and check in every few hours on Wednesday. "I spoke to her this morning on the phone. She advised that they were OK, they were going to do a few other things, and she allowed me to talk to Wyatt. Wyatt seemed to be in good spirits and seemed to be OK," Assistant Chief Shane Washburn says.
During one of the most recent phone calls Washburn received from Curvin, she mentioned they would be coming back. But she didn't give a concrete timeframe or say where they are. "I urged her to come home. I also urged her to stay in touch with us as much as she could so we could make sure Wyatt was OK," Washburn says.
When Curvin unenrolled her son from school Monday, she did so saying they were headed out of the state.
Police say Curvin and Wyatt's father, Billy Joe Sanford, shared custody of Wyatt until a judge granted the father primary custody Tuesday afternoon. Read our in-depth report on those details embodied in this situation here.
Sanford's attorney released this statement on behalf of him Wednesday evening:
"Our number one priority is the health and well-being of Wyatt Sanford, and we pray without ceasing for his safe return. We are grateful, as well, for the prayers and well wishes of everyone in the community. We trust the professionals in the Arab Police Department and their colleagues who have acted with urgency and diligence since this situation developed. Child custody is a complex legal environment, and our firm has worked to make sure officers have the legal authority they need to act swiftly in ensuring the best interests of Wyatt Sanford.
Lastly, we respect the important relationship Wyatt has with his mother, that any mother has with her child. All we have done at this point is begin a civil process which allows both parents to investigate and review what further action may be in Wyatt's best interests, and we look forward to working through that process with Ms. Curvin in the utmost good faith. We just ask her to bring Wyatt home so we can all work through this process together."
Arab Police are utilizing every resource to track the two down, even calling in more officers to handle the case. "With a situation like this, one thing we have to make sure of is that we have enough manpower to handle all of the tips and incoming calls," Washburn explains.
Because Curvin had custody of Wyatt at the time, an Emergency Missing Child Alert was issued and not an Amber Alert. The department called in more officers as if that were the situation. "We used the same criteria as an Amber Alert, because we didn't want to be understaffed in case we had a large influx of calls," Washburn says.
The department doesn't have enough officers on each shift to fully man something of this magnitude, and didn't want to pull officers off the streets. "We had things ongoing as well in the city that we had to make sure we had enough personnel for," Washburn says.
Arab Police is working every angle to make sure Wyatt and Curvin get home safely. "We hope that they come home soon. We're hoping that they stay in contact. Each time that she does contact us we're urging her to come back," Washburn says.
Wyatt Sanford is a white male. He has brown hair and brown eyes and also has a scar on one of his ankles. He is about 4 feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. Investigators believe the mother and son may be in a 2010 Pontiac G6 with tag number AL7022AR7
If you have any information, please call the Arab Police Department at (256) 586-8124 or call 911.