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'No stone left unturned': Former detective gives News 3 inside look into Codi Bigsby investigation

codi bigsby
Posted at 3:48 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 18:20:40-05

HAMPTON, Va. - It's all hands on deck, 24 hours a day. All resources are in gear as the search for 4-year-old Codi Bigsby is on day three.

"There is no stone left unturned; this child's life is at stake," said Richard James, retired Norfolk Police officer and detective.

James says the search for a missing child like Codi begins seconds after the initial call.

"It starts when a patrol officer gets to scene first. He finds as much information as possible from the complainant, puts it on radio to all officers," said James.

Dispatchers then put that information into the National Crime and Information Center, and it's pushed out nationwide.

"The first place you will search is at the child's house," said James.

Then, James says, investigators work to talk to friends and family. The investigation is 24 hours a day, and all resources are utilized.

"Officers on the street are doing their searches at the exact same time investigators are doing their tactics and techniques, like talking to family, friends, local hospitals, police agencies, social services, " said James. "Family history and background checks are made; risk factors or any illnesses the child may have."

Family - like Cory Bigsby, Codi's father, as well as Codi's mother - is also questioned immediately.

"Any questioning that is going on is all voluntary, and parents, anyone, can leave anytime they want. Police cannot hold them against their will unless they believe they have evidence that crime occurred," said James. "Parents are always the number one suspect until they are deleted - that is natural," said James.

Search warrants for the home and for cellphones are executed if there is probable cause. A grid search starting from the home is also vital.

"A grid is an organized search. You don’t go over the same spot twice, and that's efficient in the search - start by the house and you work your way outward," said James.

And most importantly, time is of the essence. The first 48 hours are key.

"Time is never on your side looking for missing child, particularly a young child, and to add to that, the weather we have been having, that puts another mark of urgency for police department to find the child," said James.

Related: Community comes together to search for missing 4-year-old in Hampton