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911 call released in missing boy case; Vigil held

Police on Monday evening released the 911 call made after Siraj Munir Davenport disappeared from a Smithfield flea market. The community also gathered to pray for the 3-year-old’s safe return.

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Police on Monday evening released the 911 call made after a 3-year-old boy disappeared from a Smithfield flea market.

The boy's mother, speaking to police after the call was received, told officers she was loading produce into her car Sunday morning at Brightleaf Flea Market and that when she looked up, Siraj Munir Davenport, also known as Roji, was gone.

The female caller on the tape, who was not specifically identified as the mother, told 911 she tried looking for the boy before calling police.

"I tried for looking for him myself. Then I went to my friend's house and asked her for help," the woman said.

The caller also said that she is new to the area.

"I don't know anyone around here. We just moved here," the woman told the 911 dispatcher.

Investigators would not say whether the boy's mother made the 911 call.

Linda Smith said Roji's mother, Rosa, spent Sunday night with her.

"She’s devastated. Very hard on her. She’s not eating. She can't sleep. She doesn't want me to leave her, and I’m not going to leave her,” Smith said.

Smith spent most of Monday outside the police department while Roji's mother was inside talking with investigators. Smithfield Police Chief Steve Gillikin said the mother is not a suspect.

The boy's father is traveling back to the United States from Vietnam.

"That is one more sweet little boy. He has got real good manners. He is opening doors up for you. I mean he is nice. He is just a beautiful, nice child,” Smith said.

Local, state and federal investigators are searching for Roji. He is approximately 3 feet tall and weighs 35 pounds. He has dark brown hair and brown eyes.

"Every minute that goes by is another minute we don't know where the kid is," Gillikin said Monday. "We're doing everything we can to find him and looking for a positive ending."

Gillikin said police are following all leads and looking into all possibilities about what might have caused Roji to disappear.

"I think it's too early to say it's an abduction," Gillikin said. "I mean, the kid disappeared, and there are lots of cases where kids wander off or walk into the woods or different areas."

A candlelight vigil for Roji, for whom state authorities issued an Amber Alert on Sunday, was held Monday night. People gathered at the Barbour's Grove Park in Four Oaks to pray for his safe return.

"What you see on the outside is what you see on the inside. He is just precious. Precious,” Roji's former preschool teacher Karen Barbour said.

Ribbons with Roji's name written in red were handed out at the vigil. Red was chosen because in Malaysia, the native country of the boy's mother, red means "happy."

"Prayer is going to bring that child home,” Barbour said.

Anyone who might have seen Roji or knows where he might be should contact Johnston County Emergency Services at 919-934-9411 or call 911 or contact the state Highway Patrol at *HP on a cellular phone.
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Erin Hartness, Reporter
Tom Normanly, Photographer
Minnie Bridgers, Web Editor

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