Six-year-old Arian, who disappeared a week ago in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, remains untraceable. Even the largest search operation to date on Sunday with around 1,200 helpers did not provide any information about the boy’s whereabouts, a police spokesman said on Monday in Rotenburg. The investigators are now changing their search strategy.

The emergency services searched for Arian with a human chain until nightfall on Sunday. Dogs were sent to search for traces found – without success, said the police spokesman. All areas in question were searched, some of them several times. “We are left empty-handed after all this,” he added.

According to the spokesman, the police will no longer search across the board, but rather on an “event-related” basis, for example if there are new clues or “ideas”. The emergency services from the weekend have moved away, and on Monday the investigators received support from two hundred of the Lower Saxony riot police.

Police spokesman Heiner van der Werp told NDR that the search was moving from a “euphoric to a realistic phase”. The Bundeswehr has announced that it will withdraw soldiers involved in the search on Monday. But the search continues; according to the police, the goal remains “finding Arian.”

Arian disappeared from his parents’ house in the Elm district of Bremervörde a week ago on Monday evening. He was only lightly dressed and seven, sometimes cold, nights have passed since then. Due to his autism disorder, the six-year-old cannot express himself and does not respond to being spoken to, which makes the search difficult.

Since Monday, hundreds of police officers, soldiers, firefighters, employees of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief and other organizations as well as many private individuals have been looking for the boy. In the largest search operation to date on Sunday, 800 helpers formed a chain and combed an area of ​​around 15 square kilometers south of Kranenburg – an area the size of more than 2,000 football fields. Searches were also carried out on the Oste River from the air with drones and on the water with boats and dogs. A total of around 1,200 helpers took part in the search on Sunday.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) thanked the volunteers, the emergency services, who often continued searching in their free time after work, and the employers for releasing their employees. This is an “impressive example of compassion and solidarity.” Weil expressed his hope that Arian “will now be found quickly and hopefully alive.”

In addition to searching forests, fields, properties and bodies of water, the emergency services used headlights to project beams of light into the sky and played children’s songs to attract Arian’s attention. At the parents’ suggestion, helpers also used balloons and sweets to lure the six-year-old out of possible hiding places – but without success.

Further source: Lüneburg Police, “NDR”