Nearly a thousand volunteers join the ongoing search for missing 7-year-old boy in Kodiak

a big group of people stand outside a building
Dozens of members of the public joined the search and waited outside Bayside Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday. (Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

Hundreds of people in Kodiak continue to search for 7-year-old Sawyer Cipolla.

Cipolla went missing Saturday afternoon near his home off Three Sisters Way, in a heavily wooded part of the island.

Alaska State Troopers are in charge of the ongoing search, which nearly 1,000 volunteers have joined since Cipolla was reported missing, according to troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain. That includes local pilots, ground searchers and horseback teams, plus various members of local law enforcement, Kodiak Island Search and Rescue, Coast Guard Base Kodiak and U.S. Navy Seals. K9 teams from Anchorage and Mat-Su are also assisting.

Cipolla was last seen wearing gray pants, an Under Armour brand camouflage hoodie and hiking boots, said troopers. He is white with brown hair and brown eyes, and is four and a half feet tall.

a boy in a chair
Sawyer Cipolla. (Kodiak Police Department)

Sawyer is autistic and searchers were told he responds to the name “Brigadier,” or vocal howling. He also answers to the phrase “come on in.”

On Sunday, dozens of people gathered outside the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department — just outside of Kodiak city limits — to help with the search. New arrivals were assigned to a search team before heading out into the field. The group included families with children. For some, like Kodiak resident Jingkie Christescu, Sunday was their second day searching, and it was more coordinated than the day before.

“Yesterday when we went out, there was a lot of individual teams, two people here or there, single people just looking,” said Christescu.

Sunday was also Mother’s Day. That was on Christescu’s mind. 

“We just want to find him, yes, and I have a 7-year-old too,” she said.

Volunteers can report to the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department to join the search. Meanwhile, homeowners in the area where Cippola disappeared are encouraged to check any potential hiding spots on their properties for the little boy. 

Anyone who thinks they may have seen Cipolla should call the Alaska State Troopers in Kodiak. Their number is 907-486-4121.

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