SAMPSON COUNTY — It has been five days since 4-year-oldTriston "Buddy" Myersvanished, but authorities say they found one of his dogs Tuesday.
Buddy's three-legged dog, Buck, returned to the home of Buddy's aunt around 2 p.m. The dog had some cuts and scratches, but is in good condition. Investigators say they do not know whether the dog was dropped off or wandered back home by himself.
Investigators released Buck Tuesday evening, hoping the dog can lead them back to Buddy.
Buddy was reported missing Thursday afternoon with his dogs, Buck and Sasha, a doberman. The news of Buck's return gives family members a renewed sense of hope.
"There is a lot of hope, knowing that he might be out there somewhere and we can find him and bring him home," says family member Crystal Richmond.
Dan Rickard was at home when he heard about Buck's return. He says hearing the good news motivated him to drive from his Garner home to help with the search.
"I thought there might be a chance that they would find the child. I figured that there would be one more person helping out," he says. "Now, that we have a little shine of hope, let's see what we can do this time."
Authorities say they have 100 volunteers on standby, ready to pick up the search. Family members say they plan to put up fliers, hoping someone knows Buddy's whereabouts.
TheNational Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenis working with an organization called Choice Point. That group has printed up posters of Buddy that will be faxed to law enforcement agencies in four states -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.
Jane Davison, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Chapter of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the national exposure multiplies the odds of locating Myers.
"The more people we get his picture out to, the better chances we have of locating him and bringing him home safety," she says.
This weekend,America's Most Wantedwill also have Myers' picture on their missing children alert segment.