Ground search for missing 7-year-old to continue until dark

Police are asking to speak with those who were in the park at the time, whether they recall seeing the boy or not.
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:10 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police on Wednesday evening divided up friends and family of the 7-year-old boy who went missing the night before, possibly falling into the Missouri River, to help with searches around N.P. Dodge Park.

Meanwhile, police K-9s continued searching shallow water and shorelines in the area in hopes of finding Avi Gurung.

OPD said they will only continue ground searches of the area until dark Wednesday due to the dangerous and thick landscape around the river. Fire and rescue boats were pulled from the river, but are planning to return at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Lt. Neal Bonacci gave an update Wednesday afternoon on the search for Avi saying authorities suspected no foul play involved in the boy’s disappearance. He said the family was tending to another child when Avi went missing.

Police also corrected the age of the boy, reported yesterday as 6 years old.

Avi was reported missing just before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

He’s described as an Asian boy 3 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing 48 pounds and was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a design on the front of it, red shorts, and a blue jacket. There may also be a language barrier, though Bonacci said the boy does speak a little bit of English.

Avi Gurung, 6, was reported missing near N.P. Dodge Park on Tuesday evening, Aug. 3, 2021....
Avi Gurung, 6, was reported missing near N.P. Dodge Park on Tuesday evening, Aug. 3, 2021. Omaha Police said the photo on the left was taken Tuesday. (Omaha Police Department)

Bonacci said the boy was last seen playing on a sandbar near the Missouri River, but that a ground search has been conducted “in case he had wandered off.”

There were reports of fishermen nearby at the time, Bonacci said.

“We are asking them to come forward and offer any information that they have, what they witnessed, if they witnessed anything,” he said.

Even if those witnesses didn’t see Avi, police would still like to speak with them in hopes of establishing a timeline, he said.

OPD was again conducting aerial searches Wednesday and multiple agencies were assisting with continued searches along the Missouri River.

Authorities got started again with their search at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Omaha and Council Bluffs fire departments and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also again deployed boats into the Missouri River search the water.

Officers also closed off the trail access to the park around noon Wednesday as Council Bluffs and Eppley fire departments as well as DCSO personnel were searching the river, including areas further downstream.

Bonacci said they did not yet see a need for volunteer assistance with the search, but that they would get the word out if that changes. Police plan to continue their search Wednesday at least until dark, he said.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.

Watch Wednesday’s OPD news conference

Omaha Police Lt. Neal Bonacci gave an update Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 4, 2021, on the search for Avi Gurung, reported missing near N.P. Dodge Park on Tuesday.

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