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Volunteer searchers pressing on with search for Codi Bigsby, petition for 'Codi Alert'

Codi Bigsby tribute.jfif
Posted at 9:21 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 13:53:46-05

HAMPTON, Va. - Tuesday marked Day 15 since 4-year-old Codi Bigsby of Hampton was reported missing by his father, Cory Bigsby.

A lot of the recent attention has been on the Hampton Police Division's mishandling of Cory's request for an attorney.

But many volunteers are focused on finding any traces of Codi.

“Anywhere that we get a tip that something needs to be searched, we’re there searching,” volunteer searcher Paige Fuller told News 3.

Fuller has been involved since Day 1 as a volunteer searcher to help find Codi, joining others in combing areas throughout the city.

Lately, their focus has been around Codi’s apartment complex.

“It’s honestly changed me as a person,” Fuller said of being a volunteer searcher. “I feel like I’m a better person. It makes me not take what I have for granted.

Mahogany Waldon, another volunteer searcher, told News 3 people came Tuesday from as far as Gloucester to help look for Codi.

“[They’ve] said, 'It’s just in my heart to help you guys search,'" Waldon said. “We just want to make sure that we’re being as thorough as possible, and we’re following all leads.”

Waldon said one of their goals is to stay positive.

“Waking up every day with Codi on your mind, seeing his face [and] knowing that he’s out there somewhere, knowing that he deserves to be at home,” Waldon said.

Earlier this week, Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot encouraged searchers to keep going.

“I think we all have to consider what we might be able to do that’s helpful,” Talbot said at a press conference Monday. “I believe that the number of people that have decided on their own to traipse about in the woods and dig through marshes and all of these other things, God bless them.”

Meanwhile, Waldon and others are getting the word out about a petition to create a new alert called the "Codi Alert.” Waldon said this would be an alert for missing children who don't qualify for an AMBER Alert.

“Another alert, we don’t see how that would hurt. We feel that it would help,” she said.

“Even up to two or three days ago, people are still saying, ‘Oh, well, I didn’t know he was missing.’ How can you live not even five miles from where it happened and still don’t know?” Fuller said. “There has to be something out there that can alert these people.”

They also hope more will join them to look for any clues.

“Until Codi is found - it doesn’t matter how long it takes - we need to be out here as a community and looking for him,” Waldon said.

Waldon said you can join their team or start your own independent search.

As for their schedule moving forward, they will be searching throughout the city on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays to come up with strategies on where they'll focus their efforts.

They'll also be expanding to a 2-mile radius around Codi's home to search for the next few weeks.

Recently, News 3 Investigates also took an in-depth look at the AMBER Alert, including its criteria.

News 3 also reached out to the Hampton Police Division about the FBI’s involvement in Codi’s search.

HPD officials said, during the first days of the search, the FBI provided agents to assist with the physical search, a search plane and technical investigative support. They’re continuing to offer technical investigative support.

On Wednesday Codi's aunt Tandaleyia Butler said she “Knew they (police) weren’t being honest from the beginning. That’s what we’ve been saying all along.” She also said she believes her brother is innocent.

When News 3 asked Butler about the Hampton Police Department's mishandling of the case, she said “I’m glad they’ve accepted the responsibility of their wrongdoing.”

Butler is still also part of the search efforts for Codi as she has been driving back and forth from where she lives to look for him.