MARRERO, La. (WGNO) — Friday marks 6 months since the search ended for Ellis Baudean, a 4-year-old who fell into swampy water while walking with his mother at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. But ahead of the haunting anniversary, the community is hoping to shed light on the child’s case.
On Sunday, January 23, at 2 p.m., a vigil will be held in the parking lot of the Twin Canals inside the park, where Ellis was last seen. Organizers say the goal is to let the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office know that they haven’t forgotten about the missing child.
On the evening of Thursday, July, 15, police responded to the preserve, bringing search crews, divers, dogs, and boats with them. However, officials at the time said that because of the scene’s standing water compared to a moving current, finding the boy’s scent was particularly difficult for the search dogs on the case.
After days of searching the waters, authorities extended search efforts and began to build a clay dam to help drain the canal. After construction was completed on Day 6, teams were able to use sonar technology to search the drained, 500-foot section of canal and check alligator dens, but there were still no signs of the boy.
To make matters even more complicated, the dam broke later in the evening on the same day the water was drained. After seven days following the incident, including countless hours of work by crews, dogs, and concerned community members to locate the child, the search concluded on July 21 with no luck.
In an interview with WGNO following the conclusion of the search, Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said that although the active search is over, they would not stop trying to locate Ellis Baudean.
“We’ve exhausted a lot of options. Our investigation goes where it leads us, if the naysayers say the body is not in here, prove me wrong. We will continue the investigation as much as we can,” the Sheriff said.
Although Ellis hasn’t been found, visitors assisting with the search placed a hand-made cross at the site of the canal, ensuring the child’s memory will never be forgotten.