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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Body of missing child recovered

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 ~ Updated 2:21 PM

Divers from Marion and Craighead County as well as Arkansas Game and Fish and Fulton, Lawrence and Sharp County authorities search for three year old Caleb Linn, of Springdale who was missing since March 24 on Boy Scout Camp Kia Kima in Cherokee Village. Photo was taken after the discovery of the boys orange and green shirt was discovered in the area of the South Fork River. Linn's body was recovered around 10 a.m. March 28 just downstream from this location. [Order this photo]
Sharp County authorities have confirmed the recovery of three-year-old Caleb Linn from the South Fork River on Boy Scout Camp Kia Kima in Fulton County around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Sharp County Chief Deputy David Huffmaster and "Crowbar" Russell recovered Linn's body after being alerted by a person searching in a canoe about a quarter mile downstream from the bridge. The body was discovered in about two feet of water near where the boy's inside out shirt was located on Tuesday.

Linn had been missing since 11:30 a.m. Saturday after leaving a bridge near the camp where he and his aunt were with a group of 11 children at the 900-acre Boy Scout Camp. Five of the children left the bridge Saturday morning to return to camp when Caleb later asked his aunt, who was supervising the children, for permission to catch up with the others, and he had not been since.

Although the group was not associated with the Boy Scouts, they come from Springdale each year to help clean up the campsite before the scouts come during the summer months. The group had been working on a clean-up project at a bridge about a half-mile from the main campsite and cabin in which they were staying. Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts said the children were cleaning debris that was amassed on one side of the bridge due to the recent flooding.

Fulton County Sheriff Buck Foley said over 300 volunteers with various law enforcement and volunteer agencies from Arkansas, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee, including divers, mounted horseback riders; ATVs and volunteers on foot searched the wooded area since Saturday.

Sunday the search yielded little but Fulton County Road Department brought a track hoe to the bridge to clean the debris to allow divers to search the area near the bridge.

Divers continued near the bridge and in an area below where much of the debris that was being cleaned was accumulating. Around three p.m. Monday, cadaver dogs from Little Rock made a "hit" on an area about a quarter mile upriver from the bridge where Linn was last spotted.

Again on Tuesday, dogs also made hits in the same vicinity and divers continued to search. That afternoon divers from Marion and Craighead County discovered a shirt that was later confirmed by the boy's aunt to belong to the child.

Rescue workers continued to search the water for Linn until dark. Around 3 p.m. Foley held a press conference calling off the land search and concentrating all further efforts on the river, where they believed the boy would be located.

Fresh dive teams and other volunteers made their way back to the river for the fifth day of searching early Wednesday before discovering the body just after 10 a.m.

Amanda and Randy Muir, Caleb's mother and stepfather, explained they had never given up hope that crews would locate their son and very thankful for the efforts of all those who searched.

Officials also questioned the boy's aunt Tuesday to determine a better timeline of when the child went missing. Authorities said the investigation into his death has officially been turned over to Arkansas State Police.

At the time of Linn's disappearance, the river was very high following the recent heavy rainfall and flooding. Many feared the worst, thinking the boy had fallen into the water.

Authorities covered all bases during the investigation, including questioning known sex offenders who lived in the area, but after discovering the orange and green shirt, were certain the boy was in the river.

Foley said he was very thankful for the countless hours the men and women who searched for Linn spent assisting his county in the recovery.

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