NORTH BLOOMFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Hundreds of volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon at the Bristolville Fire Department to help search for a toddler who has been missing since Friday evening.
The search resumed Sunday morning for 2-year-old Rainn Peterson. She was last seen about 6:30 p.m. Friday at her home at 7759 Sate Route 45 in North Bloomfield.
Early Sunday morning, dogs picked up the child’s scent about 200 yards north of the house in the woods near Norton Lane. Later, the search was extended to cover several miles from the house.
The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office issued a request at 11:30 a.m. asking for volunteers. That need was quickly met when hundreds of people showed up to help. An announcement was made at about 1:30 p.m. that no additional civilian volunteers were needed
Police expanded an initial regional endangered missing child alert to a statewide notice. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also issued a notice for Peterson.
About 350 volunteers are combing a several-mile radius near the house. Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere said late Sunday afternoon that they are still considering the effort an “active search.”
With determination in her voice, Rainn’s mother Brandi Peterson said she not giving up on finding her daughter, She spent the day Sunday putting pink flyers inside mailboxes asking people to call 911 if they see her daughter.
“We are not going to stop looking for her until we find her and bring her home,” Peterson said. “I’m using all of my frustrations and aggravations right now to do something to try to find her. Each day we lose hope and we lose faith.”
A prayer vigil was held Sunday at the family’s home where dozens gathered to plead for Peterson’s safe return. The search Sunday will continue until dark.
Brandi Peterson said she has a message for anyone who may have taken her daughter.
“We will find you, and you will be punished for what you did. Just bring my baby back home,” Peterson said.
Bloomfield Assistant Fire Chief Roger Peterson is urging any non-essential personnel to avoid the area of Route 45 near the house so search crews and law enforcement personnel can move about unencumbered by traffic.
Helicopters and airplanes with specialized equipment were also used Sunday in the search, after inclement weather prevented the aircraft from flying on Saturday.
Seven sex offenders were interviewed in the area, but no leads were produced from the interviews. Federal agents also administered lie-detector tests Saturday to Peterson’s family members to eliminate any possible suspects, according to Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere.
Altiere said the office has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Peterson lives at the home with her great-grandparents and two siblings. Her mother, Brandi Peterson, does not live at the house, but the children have been staying there for about one month.
The grandmother told police she was upstairs doing dishes and called the children for dinner Friday when she noticed Rainn was missing. A search was conducted all night Friday and into Saturday.
The Ohio attorney general’s office released the following information on Rainn Peterson:
Missing from: North Bloomfield, Ohio
Missing since: 10/2/2015
Missing age: 2
Current age: 2
Date of birth: 8/19/2013
Height: 3′ 0″
Weight: 24 pounds
Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Brown