Authorities do not suspect foul play.

LINCOLN, N.H. (AP) – About 300 volunteers from throughout New England showed up in the rain Wednesday to help search the woods and streams for a 10-year-old Massachusetts boy who disappeared two days ago.

“I have a daughter,” said Laura Hauser of Plymouth, who arrived for her second day of searching for Patric McCarthy. “I hope somebody would help me if my daughter were lost.”

Allen Hight and his 15-year-old son, Tyson, left home in Northborough, Mass., before dawn Wednesday and drove three hours to help in the search.

“I’m a father. I was looking at the little boy on television. He looked like a great little boy and seeing his dad and mother, I couldn’t sleep last night,” Hight said.

Patric, of Bourne, Mass., who celebrated his birthday Sunday, was playing with his two stepbrothers near a brook in the White Mountain National Forest when he challenged them to race back to the family’s condo about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

“The deal was, ‘We’ll race you back, we’ll meet you back,”‘ State Police Lt. John Scarinza said.

Police believe Patric was trying to take a short cut through the brook to the condo about 300 yards away, but made a wrong turn into rugged, steep mountain terrain, Scarinza said.

Police found small footprints in one area, but couldn’t confirm they were Patric’s. Scarinza said it is “the best lead we have that we’re working on.”

Police have interviewed Patric’s family. They also are trying to contact people who were staying in nearby condo units to see if they saw Patric or anything possibly related to his disappearance.

Authorities said there was no reason to suspect foul play.

When asked about Patric’s chances for survival, authorities recalled the case of a toddler lost a couple years ago in Berlin, about 50 miles to the north in the White Mountains, who traveled more than a mile in heavy rain and cold before he was found alive.

Volunteers on Wednesday helped search a 20-square-mile area for any sign of the boy.

Hauser said her 4-year-old daughter was supportive of her search efforts. “‘OK, Mommy, bring him home so I can meet him,”‘ her daughter told her.

Patric’s stepmother, Margaret McCarthy, was optimistic. She said Patric, a fourth-grader, is a Boy Scout and likes to play Army.

“Patric has enough skills to get through anything he needs to get through,” she said. “He’s little; he’s not weak. He’s a very, very, intelligent child.”

The state Fish and Game Department is in charge, assisted by Lincoln police and fire departments, state police and other professionals. National Guard helicopters and search dogs helped. Heavy rain and wind slowed efforts early Wednesday and temperatures got into the 40s in the dense forest.

Roland Belliveau, a volunteer from Salem, heard about the search on the radio.

“I know the feeling,” said Belliveau, who has two children and a grandchild and has helped out with other searches. “I would’ve been here the first day if I could’ve.”

Patric is blond, 4-foot-10, and 85 pounds. The condo complex is along the Kancamagus Highway, across from Loon Mountain ski area. Patric was staying there with his father, stepmother and stepbrothers, 13-year-old Gabe and 7-year-old Noah during the fall foliage season.

Several families from the McCarthy family’s hometown also participated in the search for Patric, who attends James Peebles Elementary School in Bourne. His coach from the Bourne Youth Hockey League was among them.

AP-ES-10-15-03 1712EDT



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