Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hunt for Woman, Son Reinforced; New Sheriff's Hot Line Will Field Tips on Case

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hunt for Woman, Son Reinforced; New Sheriff's Hot Line Will Field Tips on Case

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL and DANA TREEN, The Times-Union

Two specialists from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were expected to arrive in Jacksonville Wednesday night to assist in the search for a 40-year-old Jacksonville woman and her infant son who have been the subject of a police search.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford also announced Wednesday a new 24-hour hot line dedicated to fielding tips on the case. He said the search for Lynda Jean Wilkes, 40, and 10-month-old Jay-Quan Mosley will press on.

Police said they are concerned for the safety of the woman and child, who may be the victims of foul play.

"At this point, we still have no suspects that have been identified, and the searching will continue as long as we think it's viable," Rutherford said.

The search of wooded areas near the Northside shopping center where Wilkes' car was found resumed Wednesday morning, as well as at another location just east of Interstate 95 off Busch Drive. Wilkes' family members believe she drove to the shopping center to meet a man who Wilkes had claimed was the child's father.

Police questioned the man, John Mosley, and said he is not a suspect. Mosley told the media he knew nothing about their disappearance.

Rutherford said the search areas have been chosen because of their proximity to the shopping center and because of confidential information that police had obtained.

"As long as there's a hint of a lead, we're going to follow it," Rutherford said.

A handful of volunteers, including three members of the Indiana National Guard on duty at Blount Island, were being directed by Ginny Cardinale of Families In Need of Direction. The local group helps families during searches.

Two teams of search dogs from Virginia's Chesapeake and Richmond areas combed over areas already investigated by police and others Tuesday. Some of the dogs worked the shopping center parking lot and surrounding woods after learning scents from clothing belonging to Wilkes and the baby. For a time, police secured a wooded lot across Lem Turner Road from the shopping center after a dog uncovered some items that were later determined not related to the case.

As time has passed and Wilkes and the boy remain missing, the department has increased the urgency of the search, he said. The sheriff said police still are not sure if foul play is involved in the disappearance, which has made his agency's efforts much more difficult.

"We don't know, and so we're leaving all the options open," he said. "And that's why we are investigating as we are."

Bryant Tompkins, 40, the father of two of Wilkes' four other children, arrived at the shopping center as police were checking the woods.

"The last thing you want to see is a crime scene truck," Tompkins said while sitting in his van. …

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