Volunteers comb riverfront for Barway Collins, share found items with police

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Volunteers searched a Mississippi riverfront park for a missing 10-year-old from Crystal Thursday and turned over to investigators items including a backpack, a knife, and a shoe.

The Star Tribune reports police would not comment on whether the items may be related to the disappearance of Barway Collins.

The fourth-grader was last seen more than two weeks ago when a school van dropped him off in front of his apartment building. Authorities say he was wearing a black jacket, white T-shirt, black pants, red shoes and carrying a red backpack.

KARE 11 says the backpack found during Thursday's search matches the one Barway carried on March 18. The station says police initially said a shoe found by the searchers was unrelated to the boy's disappearance, but later said investigators would examine all the items that were turned over.

The FBI, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Hennepin County Sheriff's office have all been involved in the search. But Thursday's effort was organized by private citizens, most of whom were strangers to each other until news of the missing 10-year-old drew them together.

As 12.tv reports, a group of mothers who met on Facebook led Thursday's search of North Mississippi Regional Park.

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Jeff Hill, a pastor at Serenity Valley Community Church, tells WCCO: “Anytime there’s a missing boy, I think it just touches the heart of the people and motivates the community to get involved.”

The Facebook group #HopeForBarway helped coordinate the volunteers who combed the riverfront park Thursday.

The search has centered on that area just north of Minneapolis partly because Barway's father had been there before he reported his son missing. Police have described the father as a suspect but he maintains his innocence and has not been arrested

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