Search for Codi Bigsby gaining thousands of followers worldwide through social media

Bring Codi Home Facebook group .png
Posted at 9:43 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 16:04:06-05

HAMPTON, Va. - Monday marked three weeks since 4-year-old Codi Bigsby was reported missing.

The Hampton boy's case has raised a lot of emotions and questions. It has also spurred a lot of attention on search trails and search bars.

“I pretty much have adopted this child as if he was my own, and I will not leave him out here in the woods,” Joe Slabinski, CEO and Founder of WATER Team Inc. told News 3.

WATER Team Inc. is a nonprofit volunteer search group, many of their members being military veterans, that has been looking for any signs of Codi from the start.

For Slabinski, three weeks later, they’re not discouraged, but determined.

“We’re still serving; it’s just a new uniform,” Slabinski said. “All we know is there’s a mission accomplished or mission failure. For us, we’re still on a mission. Until that comes to an end, we’re on a mission.”

Karena Thomas is the founder of the online Facebook group True Crime Misfits. It’s a group for true crime fans geared towards creating pages to raise awareness for missing persons cases.

“Everybody wants the same, and they just want him home,” Thomas told News 3. “The first pictures, at least of him, were no smile - just a sad face. It just drew us to him, so we wanted to do something.”

Since creating a Facebook group for Codi's search, it has gained more than 24,000 members. Thomas said it’s the highest number of followers for any group they've made.

Their mission is making sure Codi stays in the spotlight.

“We have posts being shared in other countries,” Thomas said. “There’s members that are losing sleep over this. It’s hitting that community very hard. It’s even hitting people that don’t live in that community, not even in that state, hard.”

“Any one flier or his picture could jog someone’s memory,” Thomas added.

Meanwhile, Slabinski's group has gained hundreds of followers on social media. He said it's also become a source when deciding where to put boots on the ground to search.

“Out of the negative came a very huge positive,” Slabinski said. “People found out there’s far more good in the environment than there is bad.”

“We can all come together for a common mission,” he added.

Slabinski said WATER Team Inc. will be out all week in Hampton and in other areas of Hampton Roads, including Norfolk.

Related: Search for Codi Bigsby brings volunteers to woods near Langley AFB