Volunteers early Saturday will expand the search effort around the church where a 10-year-old girl went missing Tuesday evening in hopes of finding clues that lead to Kayla Gomez-Orozco.
FBI officials enlisted the help of area residents after receiving a significant amount of offers from people wanting to help find her, Senior Special Agent Thomas M. Class of the FBI Dallas office said in a news conference Friday.
Kayla was reported missing Tuesday evening after a service at Bullard First Assembly church on U.S. Highway 69. Investigators have thoroughly search the area immediately surrounding the church, but Class said the search efforts Saturday will expand the search area.
“The entire area around the church and in the immediate area has been completely searched,” Class said. “We’re now looking to expand the search area and that’s now why we’re asking for the public’s assistance.”
Kayla, a fourth-grader at Jack Elementary School in Tyler, is 4-feet tall and weighs 90 pounds. She has waist-length brown hair and brown eyes, and was wearing a black Racquet and Jog shirt, a peach skirt and black shoes when she disappeared.
Class said the agency also continues to ask the public’s help in sharing any information they think could be relevant to the search.
“We’ve received tips right from the very beginning,” Class said. “They continue to come in, and we would expect that they continue to come in.”
Tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 903-586-7867 or to the FBI tip line at 972-559-5711.
On Friday, officials with the Cherokee County Crime Stoppers announced the reward for giving information leading to finding Kayla has been increased to $60,000.
President of the Cherokee County Crime Stoppers John Hawkins said the fund received two sizable donations, one for $7,000 and another for $40,000.
He said he didn’t know how many calls had been received, but all information received will be funneled to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.
Law enforcement agencies, including the Smith and Cherokee County sheriff’s offices, Bullard and Tyler police departments, Texas Rangers, Department of Public Safety, U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI, as well as area fire departments and constables, have been involved in searching for Kayla since she was reported missing.
The reward may grow as donations continue to come in to the account. Contributions can be made at any Austin Bank in the “Jacksonville Crime Stoppers” account. Donors must make a note that the donation is for Kayla’s fund.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
FBI officials asked anyone interested in volunteering to sign up by filling out a form at www.fbi.gov/searchforkayla .
Volunteers are asked to check in at Bullard High School parking lot between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and are asked to bring a photo ID and plan to spend most of the day searching.
All volunteers must be older than 16 and are asked not to bring weapons, animals or ATVs.