Police Look For 6-Year-Old Boy Missing For A Week; 2 Accused Of Lying To Investigators

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 11:39 am
By: News On 6

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) _ Police searched for a missing 6-year-old boy Wednesday in a thicket of dense pines where two men told investigators they had buried the boy's dead body, but didn't find the child.

Both men led police late Tuesday on a fruitless search in the woods beside the mobile home park that Christopher Michael Barrios, 6, vanished from six days earlier. Police brought them back to look again in the daylight Wednesday afternoon, but had not found the boy by evening.

The men were arrested early Wednesday on charges that they lied to police.

``They might not be lying necessarily about the location _ it could be they're just not certain,'' Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said Wednesday. ``I'm convinced enough to keep looking. If we didn't have any degree of confidence at all, we wouldn't be here.''

Doering said the men, David Edenfield and Donald Dale, were arrested because they first told police they knew nothing about the missing boy, then later claimed to know where his body was buried.

The men are also charged with concealing a body. Doering explained that the charge can be applied in a case in which a suspect hinders the discovery of a body that has yet to be found.

The boy's father, Mike Barrios, said he's not putting much stock in the men's claims.

``It's all based around these people's confessions, that he's dead _ and they've lied so much,'' said Barrios, 33. ``In a way that's good, because we're keeping hope that he's coming home alive.''

Police also conducted a second search of Edenfield's trailer Wednesday. Doering said the search was prompted by police interviews with Edenfield and Dale, but would not say what sort of evidence police sought.

Christopher has been missing since Thursday, when neighbors last saw him playing alone on a swing set down the road from his father's trailer just outside of Brunswick, a port city 60 miles south of Savannah.

Police found one of the boy's toys, a Star Wars light saber, along the road outside.

Edenfield is the third member of his family to be arrested in connection with the case. His 32-year-old son, George David Edenfield, is a convicted child molester who has told police he played a role in the boy's disappearance. Police are calling him a suspect, but as of Wednesday they had not charged him in the boy's disappearance.

He has been jailed on charges of violating his probation, which prohibits him from contact with children. His mother, Peggy Edenfield, has also been arrested on suspicion of lying to police.

Doering said that using tips from the Edenfields, police have searched in at least seven different places for Christopher, including the Edenfield family trailer and a drainage canal.

``Although we're hopeful he's alive, we're also realistic enough to know he may not be,'' Doering said.

A $31,500 reward has been offered for Christopher's safe return, and dozens of volunteers have joined in the search for him.

Christopher's grandmother, Sue Rodriguez, said she had warned her grandson to stay away from the Edenfield home after she found her neighbor's name on Georgia's online sex offender registry.

``I told him, 'Christopher, they're not nice people. Stay away from them,''' Rodriguez said.