tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN September 20, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT
good monday morning. i'm erica hill. >> and i'm jim sciutto. breaking this morning, it's good news. new and critical data in the race to vaccinate children. pfizer reports that its vaccine is safe for young children, those under the age of 12, saying trial data shows a robust and well-tolerated response in 5 to 11-year-olds. the company adding it expects data on children as young as 6 months old before the end of the year as well. we'll have more on that in just a moment. also developing this morning the growing crisis at the southern border. more than 12,000 migrants amass under a bridge in del rio, texas. the department of homeland security is preparing to accelerate flights to move some of those people to haiti and other destinations. we're live on the border and also just learned that secretary mayorkas is traveling there today. plus a tragic end to a desperate search after being missing for weeks, authorities now believe they discovered the
remains of 22-year-old gabby petito in northern wyoming. an autopsy to confirm her identity is scheduled. the cause of death still unknown. >> sad developments there. there is a lot happening this morning. kristen holmes has more on the vaccine news, trials for children. kristen, tell us what the data shows here, because i know a lot of parents are watching. >> good morning, jim and erica. we cannot stress what a big deal this is. it's something we've been waiting for, the first vaccine data for this 5 to 11 age group that we've seen yet. now in addition to showing that the vaccine is safe, it also showed that it generated a robust immune response. the company says there were no instances of myocarditis, which is heart inflammation that has been linked to some mrna vaccines. all positive news here. while it has not been peer reviewed or published yet, this is the first step of getting these shots into children's arms
and in fact, the fda, excuse me, pfizer says they are going to submit this data to the fda very soon to try and get that emergency use authorization. the big question now is what does that mean for timing? we heard from admiral brett giroir, here's what he had to say about that. >> if pfizer submits the data by the end of september, which they suggested in the press release you can get an authorization probably in the next four to six weeks. i don't want to presuppose the authorization is going to happen because again it is risk benefit. >> four to six weeks would be extraordinary timing particularly given what we are seeing now, parents afraid to send their kids back to school and virtual options and what that means for them going back to work. all of this is a move in that direction getting shots into arms. i want to talk about what this
trial looked like, as you said, jim, for the parents out there. there were more than 2,000 participants, all 5 to 11-ye11 years old. two-shot regimen like adults, except it is 10 any crow grams. 30 micrograms is for anyone over 16. this is a small dose. the trial showing robust neutralizing antibody response and another piece of good information that we heard from pfizer here that we're going to be keeping a close eye on, that they are expecting more data on infancy, on vaccines in infancy as early as the fourth quarter. all this positive of getting shots into the arms of children. >> kristen holmes, thank you. dr. jonathan reiner from georgia washington university. dr. reiner, always good to see
you. just your initial take, full disclosure mother of an 11-year-old, anxious a will waiting. there's a risk benefit analysis once they apply for emergency use authorization. can you imagine a scenario based on what we do know publicly where this would not get that emergency use authorization for kids 5 to 11? >> good morning, erica. the answer is no. the benefit side, right now the united states is seeing about a quarter of a million new cases in children every week. that represents about a 240% increase since the middle of the summer. so an enormous number of children are getting sick. apparently the devil is in the details. the clinical trial data from pfizer suggests that the reduced dose vaccine in kids 5 to 11 was very well tolerated.
so unless there's some unexpected safety signal that pfizer hasn't disclosed now and no reason to expect that is the case, this will be approved for children in that age group. the challenge is going to be to get it into kids' arms, and you know, for me and it sounds like you and many families around the country, that seems like a no brainer. think about what the uptake has been for the vaccine in kids 12 and older. we barely vaccinated our adolescents in the country. it seems a guarantee parents would give kids a vaccine, we have to do a much better job educating a very diverse group of americans that this vaccine is safe and effective and why it's important to vaccinate their kid. >> so taking a glass half full approach, right, you did get half of children in that 12 to 18 or 12 to 17 category vaccinated over the course of a
few months. what difference will it make, if and when this is given emergency use authorization for younger children, to get, we hope, a big chunk of them vaccinated as well? what difference will that make in helping bring the pandemic as a whole under control? this is about protecting kids but also about stopping spread from kids to adults. >> the children in this country are the reservoir for this virus. this is where the virus is hiding and how it's spreading. kids are picking this virus up in school, at lunch, and you know, in the cafeteria, and are bringing it home. there are a lot of homes in this country that continue to have people who are vulnerable for infection, people who haven't mounted the robust antibody response you expect, maybe because they're a transplant recipient or treated for cancer.
so extinguishing the transmission in children is important, not just to protect children, because thankfully most children will do okay. we have tragically lost about 550 children to this virus, and that's awful. most children will do okay, but the children are the vector through which this virus is continuing to burn through the united states. so in temples of public health perspective, extinguishing this in young children is really crucial, plus all kinds of economic reasons. if kids can't be in school because they're out, parents can't work, parents can't work, that has obvious impact on the economics of the family, and the american economy as a whole, so there are all kinds of reasons to vaccinate children. >> so question for you. did we lose dr. reiner there? i think we did. we will ask him another him. >> yes. the good news there, big and this looks like it's going to come soon, four to six weeks.
we'll keep on top of it. other news this morning, the white house is confirming to cnn that president biden will speak to french president emmanuel macron this week over the u.s./uk deal with australia for nuclear powered submarines, a deal that disrupted a deal between france and australia. the french furious over the move. they even recalled their ambassador for the first time from the u.s. in modern times over this. >> translator: a few days before the announcement last wednesday we had a meeting of the two ministers of defense and foreign affairs of france and australia. we absolutely weren't informed of the new course chosen by australia. >> cnn white house correspondent are let saenz following the president in delaware where he spent the weekend. arlette coming hours before president biden is set to address the united nations general assembly.
there's a lot happening at this point. >> there really is. this is a high stakes week for the president when it comes to his diplomatic efforts and one of the things that the president will be working on this week is trying to schedule that phone call with french president emmanuel macron, trying to ease and smooth over tensions after the security pact struck between the u.s., the uk and australia. the phone call between biden and macron is not expected to happen today. the scheduling process is still being worked out for that call. the two men are expected to speak in the coming days. you saw the french government recall the u.s. ambassador from the u.s. back to france for consultations regarding what they say as a betrayial from australia to the u.s. after the contract led to the loss of a multibillion-dollar submarine contract the french had with the australians. this comes as the president is about to turn his sights on his
foreign policy and diplomatic agenda. later today he will be traveling to new york city, meeting with the head of the u.n., s secretary-general gutteres and tomorrow the president will deliver his first speech in front of the united nations general assembly as president. biden spent time at the u.n. when he was vp as a senator as well. tomorrow his focus on trying to rally the world to address the big crises, the covid-19 pandemic and human rights abuses. it comes as a tricky and precarious time for the biden foreign policy, after some allies questioned the u.s., and their decision, the chaotic withdrawal from afghanistan last month. also the death of those 13 u.s. servicemembers, and then the admission that they made a mistake with that strike that killed civilians in afghanistan. so this is a lot for the president to try to address over the course of the next week.
he will also be meeting with leaders hosting boris johnson, the prime minister of the uk, tomorrow. at the end of the week he's hosting the quad leaders, the leaders of india, japan and australia and trying to get that phone call with emmanuel macron on the books to try to smooth over some of those tensions. >> we'll be waiting for that scheduling update. arlette saenz, appreciate it, thank you. up next, a heartbreaking discovery for the family of gabby petito. authorities believe they found the 22-year-old's remains near grand teeton national park. her fiance now missing. we're live in wyoming and florida next. plus the biden administration is ramping up deportation flights as more than 10,000 migrants wait to be processed at the u.s./mexico border. the homeland security chief just announced he is headed to del rio, texas, today to observe the conditions under the bridge there, as you see those pictures, for himself. also ahead new reports that president trump is looking to
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look for the ecolab science certified seal. an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to confirm human remains in grand teetton, wyomi are those of gabby petito. >> her fiance returned to florida september 1st without her and no one reported seeing him since last week. leyla santiago joins us now. investigators spent the weekend focusing on a nature preserve there in florida, searching for
la laundrie but now moved on. >> reporter: we're waiting for a response but we just heard in the last hour or so from northport police saying they believe they have exhausted all avenues when it comes to the search at carlton reserve, the 25,000-acre area that was quite the challenge over the weekend, as we watched atvs, helicopters, k9 units go in there. according to northport police, the family at the home where brian laundrie and pitino lived together with his family, the family said they had not seen him since tuesday and the last whereabouts according to them, they'd seen him with a hiking bag and he said he was going hiking in that reserve. now, obviously there is a big
push and urgency to find him in hopes of getting answers. we know they want to get to the bottom of what exactly happened here, why two people left on a road trip cross-country and only one returned. right now, according to police, the family of brian laundrie has said they are concerned for his well-being. it has been pretty quiet here, as we have been here all morning. there was a bit of a larger law enforcement presence last night here at the laundrie home, but we're still waiting to find out where this investigation will go. northport police saying they will continue to work with the fbi. we know where they're not searching, so the question now is where are they searching? >> yes, we will continue to follow that leyla and know you'll keep us updated. to wyoming, kelly vaughn
with kutv in the bridger teton national forest. the autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow but authorities at this point say they're fairly confident the remains are those of gabby petito, kelly. >> reporter: that's right, not the outcome anybody here wanted, but at least now we know fbi say the body resembles gabby. they're going to do a forensic investigation that will 100% confirm it's her but they were confident enough to publicly console gabby's family and send their thoughts and prayers to her parents who are mourning the loss of her daughter but the autopsy tomorrow will confirm the identity of the body and also give us could give us insight into the cause of death. >> members of the public were sharing photos, video. i saw some of this posted online of encounters with that van, perhaps petito and laundrie as well. has that helped investigators? >> reporter: yes, police said
that the public tips information was extremely useful. we've seen videos, photos coming in of people who thought they saw gabby, brian or their van here in the campsite area. fbi says that was really helpful resource, and they are asking anyone else with any further information that might have come across gabby or brian while they were camping here to reach out to the fbi tip line because the public has been very helpful in connecting the dots in the case here. >> goodness, just feel for her family. kelly v kelly vaughen. we're joined by commissioner charles ramsay. always good to have you on. one question at the top of a lot of folks' minds is, and by the way, you want to be fair to authorities because they're working as best they can through all this, but did authorities and police keep enough of a watch on laundrie? he was not a formal, still not a formal suspect, not even then i believe a person of interest, but he was home for a long time
and now he's gone. do you see mistakes there in the initial police work? >> well, i mean apparently they didn't have him under surveillance. why? i don't know. perhaps they don't think they had enough at the time to keep him under 24-hour surveillance. we'll find all these things out a little later on, but right now, apparently they've given up the search in that one area. they don't believe he's there and now they're looking elsewhere. it wouldn't be surprising if that was a misdirection, if you will, where he told his family one thing and then he went the opposite direction, but the key right now is going to be the cause of death, the findings of the medical examiner tomorrow to determine what actually happened to her, in terms of what killed her. >> and then obviously that will, we will as you point out, learn so much from that commissioner. as we look at though just in dealing, sort to have jim's point there, what we do know or what we've learned in the last couple of days, i should say is
that brian laundrie left but his family didn't say anything for days. the public information officer for northport was with us on this show friday morning and he said clearly the family had not been cooperative. when you're dealing with a family that is not cooperative, in the words of the pio last week, how much does that hinder things? how much may that have also played a role in us being where we're at this morning? >> well, it hinders it a great deal. i mean, you know, you want people to be forthcoming if they have critical information. if this turns out to be a homicide, right now carried as a suspicious death investigation, all of the steps you take in the homicide investigation are the same but until you get that determination from the medical examiner, it's not officially classified as a homicide. remember, this body was exposed to the elements for a period of time, any injuries might not be obvious, gunshot wound, stab wounds, things of that nature. they have to do a thorough exam. but if it does turn into a
homicide, even a suspiccspiciou death that family could be subpoenaed before a grand jury and compelled to testify and it may come to that. >> chief ramsey, we know the initial owe cuss of the search for laundrie was on this nature reserve in florida. they're turning their focus elsewhere, not clear to the degree they have hard leads at this point, but tell us what's involved in a search now, when you're looking for someone like this. >> well, there's an awful lot involved. obviously you're going to be looking at any kind of trail that that information, that that person may have left. you buy gas. did you use a credit card? you know, where can he possibly be, if he's still got a cell phone, he pinged a phone, things of that nature. so they'll follow whatever leads they have available to him. right now, the two key things right now are probably the one key thing is going to be searching that crime scene. the fbi agent in charge, you
mentioned yesterday is rugged terrain, which makes it very difficult to actually, you know, process that scene and see if they can find any evidence that puts him at that location. is that where the death actually occurred? was the body brought there? it's probably not an open field, because he described it as rugged terrain, which makes it a little more difficult. the second part of course is finding him. so those are the two key things that right now they're focusing on, i would imagine. >> you talk about the trail that brian laundrie may have left, whether it was using his cell phone, using a credit card, perhaps being caught on a surveillance camera somewhere. we know that some of that trail perhaps on his way back to florida but certainly in the time of late august into september may have really helped authorities. there's been a lot made of all the public tips that came in. this is where social media really can be an important tool for an investigation. >> yes, there's no question about that. and right now, i mean, he's very recognizable. his face has been plastered over
television everywhere. so it's going to be difficult for him to go into complete hiding and hopefully someone calls and says hey, i saw a guy that looks a lot like the one you're looking for and here's where i saw him. they may have gotten some of that kind of information, which is why they called off the search. they're not going to make everything public. bad guys watch tv, too, so they're not going to really say a whole lot, but they've got some information that we aren't aware of, if they called off that search. we don't even know if this guy's alive or if he killed himself or what have you. but assuming he's still alive, they're doing everything they possibly can to track him right now. so you got a double focus on him, and then of course that scene, and finding out what actually caused her death. >> commissioner charles ramsey, always appreciate your insight. good to he see you. >> thank you. up next democrats blow to plans to address immigration reform.
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homeland security secretary alejandro mayorkas says he is headed to the u.s. southern border today to address the growing crisis in del rio, texas. you've seen the pictures. nearly 12,000 migrants, many originally from haiti crowded in a makeshift camp under the del rio international bridge in hopes of being processed into the united states. >> due to the chaos the processing center has been closed. the biden administration has ramped up flights to send migrants back to their home countries. cnn security correspondent josh campbell is near the border and priscilla alvarez joining us as well. josh, secretary mayorkas making his way there today. what time is he expected? >> reporter: that news coming from our colleague priscilla alvarez. the dhs secretary will come here just after 12:00 p.m. local time
receiving an operational update and then adremdress the press ar this humanitarian crisis that we've seen here, you have thousands of migrants that include families, pregnant women and children, living under the del rio international bridge behind us in these squalid conditions, sleeping on dirt, surrounded by trash, exposed to the elements. the dhs secretary spoke to jim acosta over the weekend. his department is working with the red cross and other aid agencies to try to get food into this makeshift camp as well as try to improve the sanitary conditions but also made clear those migrants who are here that don't have a lawful purpose for entering the united states, such as seeking asylum, they will be sent back to the places from which they came. take a listen to what he said. >> we are surging resources and we have a multi-pronged approach to this. we have for example worked with the american red cross to bring
in supplies and much-needed resources to the population. we have worked with world central kitchen to bring in meals for them. we've surged approximately 600 agents so we can gain complete control of the individuals there. >> reporter: we talked about also these repatriation flights where they've begun to send migrants back to places like haiti. as far as numbers where we are now as of yesterday, just under 12,000 people still under this bridge. authorities say they're working at a goal of processing 3,000 per day. >> priscilla alvarez with us, too. this is interesting, right? the trump administration actually deployed military resources to the border famously during the trump administration, but we know that the dhs is now asking for help from the defense department. what help exactly? >> they are. this is primarily logistics support. it's not uncommon for the defense department to provide support in securing the border but this is yet another example
of the department of homeland security shoring up resources to handle the situation on the ground. this is the all of government effort mayorkas was referring to. seeking help from dod but health and human services personnel on the ground to attend to any medical issues that might arise and they've also sent 600 agents down to the area. so all of this to get a handle of the situation as they ramp up the deportation flights to haiti. >> josh said the goal is 3,000 a day. some 12,000. do they expect to have the group cleared within the space of a few days? >> on sunday three repatriation flights. we expect that to continue and also to ramp up. it's still a difficult situation because that assumes that they can hold only those that are under the bridge and that no more will add on to that. so it's still a difficult situation and they say they'll ramp up the repatriation flights which is quite challenging for
them and people who in some cases haven't been in haiti for several years. >> goes back to the last major earthquake. thanks very much. overnight a major blow. oh we still have josh. josh, as priscilla just pointed out in terms of processing all these folks and even dealing with the flights, it also takes into account can they hold that number where it's at? we know from the reporting that there are still people trying to make their way there to that area. what is the situation on the ground right now in terms of how those numbers are growing or not. >> reporter: julia jones and i did a tour around the area. migrants are behind fencing awaiting processing. this place has been locked down. you can see behind me state troopers closed the del rio port of entry. we've seen a surge of resources, state trooper, federal agents and officers here coming to try to contend with this issue. of course as you mentioned, one key point, this is on the u.s. side, it's unclear what things will look like on the mexican
side of the border and how close officials are working with authorities there to try to stop additional influx of people coming to this location. as you mentioned, 12,000 people is a lot. they have a lot to work through and mentioned 3,000 per day as their goal, one remaining question whether they see additional resources. we'll see whether the number continues to grow. >> thank you both. overnight, a major vote of democrats on immigration. the senate parliamentarian knocked down a plan to include it in the $3.5 trillion budget bill. >> lauren fox is on capitol hill with more. there's another path here, right, bipartisan legislation. it's been tried before so many times, goes nowhere. if they can't sneak it in, is there another path? is this effort dead for good? >> reporter: jim, they tried for months to find a way forward on comprehensive immigration reform in private negotiations between
republicans and democrats. durbin, who has been leading this effort and is the leader of the judiciary committee, this was his best hope to try to get something for immigration through, but as you noted, the senate parliamentarian ruling last night, this is not something that she believes can be included in that special budget process that allows democrats to pass a massive bill with just 51 votes or a simple majority. she's arguing that immigration policy is too big, too broad to try to squeeze into this bill. that really gives democrats very few options moving forward. aides tell cnn they are going to try to narrow the scope of who might be included. they may try to go back to the senate parliamentarian. she made clear in her ruling which cnn obtained last night that this was something that was far too broad and sweeping to be included in that economic stimulus bill democrats had been working on for the last several
weeks. we also know republicans had hoped this would not be included. what they're arguing is if there is a pathway forward it should be in negotiations with them. clearly that may be the directions democrats hoped to go. they hoped to give 8 million immigrants in this country a way to get a green card, including daca recipients, tps recipients, farm workers, other essential workers which helped during the coronavirus pandemic. now it's unclear what the permanent solution for individuals in this country will be. jim and erica? >> also a week from today the house expected to vote on the massive $1 trillion infrastructure package. jim clyburn saying that vote could be delayed but top democrats say they're committed to meeting that deadline if that vote is delayed, lauren, does this effectively kill reconciliation? >> there's a very delicate tapdance, the democratic leaders have to usher through in the
next several weeks. a couple of moving pieces here, $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that passed the senate. progressives argue unless the economic package is finished they may vote against that $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. moderates have many concerns about what is going to be included in that broader economic package, and i think you have people like joe manchin and kirsten sinema saying the price tag is too high. can they find a way forward in the week? it's a tall order. we'll be watching on capitol hill. >> a big test for democrats. lauren fox on the hill, thanks very much. coming up next, former president trump is mounting a campaign reportedly now to oust rop senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. how are senate republicans reacting?
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vaughen. the president is looking to push mitch mcconnell out at his spot as senate republican leader and actively trying to recruit challengers according to a report in the "wall street journal." sources tell "the journal" there does not seem to be much appetite for replacing mcconnell. >> melanie zanona joins me live from capitol hill. what do we know about the attempted maneuvering done by
the former president? >> reporter: donald trump is trying to take his feud with mitch mcconnell to the next level. of course it's no secret these two had a falling out in the wake of the 2022 election even though mitch mcconnell did not vote to convict trump in the impeachment trial he strongly condemned him for his rhetoric and behavior leading up to january 6th and privately blamed trump for the pair of losses in the georgia senate races. now trump, who is known to hold a grudge and already on a revenge campaign, is actively trying to find someone who challenge mcconnell for gop leader, according to "the wall street journal." there appears to be little, if any appetite inside the republican conference to do that, even tommy tuberville, one of trump's top allies in the senate told "the wall street journal" he thinks mitch mcconnell is doing a good job and this is not a fight he wants to engage in. it speaks to a few points. number one, mitch mcconnell is widely viewed as an effective and respected leader inside the conference. keep in mind there is a 6-3 conservative majority on the supreme court because of mitch mcconnell and republicans know
that. number two, trump's grip on the gop isn't quite as strong as it is in the house republican conference. all of that being said, this proxy war is only just beginning because donald trump has been wading into gop primaries and mitch mcconnell has made clear he, too, is willing to get involved even if it means putting himself at odds with trump. it's possible that we could see mitch mcconnell, the highest-ranking republican in the country, on a collision course with donald trump, who according to our latest cnn polling still remains a popular and influential figure in the gop. jim, erica? >> melanie zanona live on capitol hill, thank you. this just in to cnn, the white house will be announcing new relaxed travel rules for people flying to the u.s. from the uk and the european union. fully vaccinated passengers will be able to come to the u.s. starting in november. prior to this only american citizens, immediate families and green cardholders have been able to travel to the u.s. if they
had visited the uk or the european union. we'll have more on this in the next hour. big implications for international travel. >> absolutely. as we continue to follow that, meantime has the highest court in the land turned into just another political arm? supreme court justice weighs in next. still fresh... unstopables in-wash scent booster. downy unstopables.
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differences and it isn't totally juris prudential but it isn't right to say it's political in the ordinary sense of politics. >> this question has been asked repe repeatedly. listen, the machinations that got these folks seats on the court highly political, typically in the last couple years. what distinction is he trying to make, political but not in the ordinary sense of politics? >> he's saying the supreme court justices aren't junior varsity politicians. they're judges who interpret the law. the best way to understand is look at roe v. wade, a conservative justice, clarence thomas, believes the constitution should be interpreted as it was written. he sees no right to an i abortion in the constitution and thinks roe was wrongly decided where is breyer thinks the constitution evolves so he thinks roe would be okay, thinks it's all about how a judge looks at the law. but here's where he gets into
trouble. think about this texas abortion law. it went into effect, the majority allowed it to, and clearly on its face it looks unconstitutional, right? but the majority allowed it to go into effect because texas politicians wrote it a particular way. so the general public looks that the and says that looks like a political move. so that's what breyer is trying to push back against, but it's a little tough right now because really the court is in this political spotlight and he is worried about the institution of the court. >> yeah. you point out what the public sees. a doctor of the state he says he violated that new law. why is he speaking out? >> this is interesting because this is a whole new step now. remember that this law was written very carefully and it was very difficult to challenge unless somebody performed an
abortion. so that put doctors in this catch-22. they wanted to get back into court so somebody could say, look, this law is unconstitutional, but in order to do so they'd have to perform the abortion and then find themselves liable for tons of different fees and legal proceedings. now this doctor over the weekend said, look, i have done it, i've performed one of these abortions. that opens up a new legal challenge but is an interesting standoff because you wonder if supporters of the law want it to go into court because then a judge might say, look, this is unconstitutional. right now we're in a new step of this texas law that has caused already so much litigation. >> yeah. legal game of chicken there. ariane, thanks so much. breaking news in the pakd, good news. pfizer has released new data about the effectiveness of its vaccine in younger children.
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response and that means emergency use authorization for that group could perhaps come rather soon. the urgency of course to get kids vaccinated has never been higher since july. pediatric cases and hospitalizations have soared. >> several challenges confront president biden today, the humanitarian crisis at the border, a big legislative blow to democrats' dream for the $3.5 trillion budget bill and a growing diplomatic spat with france as the president prepares for his first u.n. speech as president. he travels to new york this afternoon. but first we are following more breaking news out of florida right now at the home of brian laundrie, fiance of gabby petito. her remains found over the weekend. they spent the weekend looking for him in a nature preserve. the family last saw him on tuesday but didn't share that information with police until