DETROIT - A fresh search is taking place for a 4-year-old boy reported missing from a mid-Michigan Indian reservation as authorities conduct a criminal investigation into his disappearance.
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe says the search for Carnel Chamberlain on Tuesday is focusing on a wooded area near a wastewater treatment plant.
Carnel's mother has said the boy was being cared for by her boyfriend at her home near Mount Pleasant while she was at work Thursday when the child disappeared.
Tribal spokesman Frank Cloutier says a search warrant was executed related to the boyfriend on Monday to collect physical evidence. And Cloutier says tribal police have secured Carnel's home to preserve any possible evidence.
The tribe said the boyfriend initially wasn't cooperative. Cloutier says Tuesday a "criminal investigation" is under way.
Many have been looking for the 4-year-old since June 21, 2012.
The boyfriend said the boy was in a small pool behind the home, but then noticed the 4-year-old was gone.
Maurice Francis is the boy's uncle, and while he's upset the boy was left unattended, he just wants to find him.
"We're just hoping he's lost, you know? Just trying to find his way back to wherever he could find someone who could take him home," says Francis.
An AMBER Alert was not issued after Carnell vanished. There are certain qualifications before an AMBER Alert can be given and this case doesn't meet that criteria yet.
One of the criteria being there was no sign of an abduction. At Tribal Operations, a command center was set up to coordinate search efforts. Dozens of people volunteered.
"We just need to find this little boy. Community needs to help and people need to get out and help," says Rick Carothers.
Rick and Cheryl Carothers of Harrison heard about the missing boy and came right away.
"Kids are important. Just want to find him before anything happens serious," says Rick.
"Because I'm a grandma, I have grandchildren, and I would want all the help I could get if they were my children missing," Cheryl says.
Maurice Francis has been looking for his nephew, and is amazed so many others are looking as well.
"Makes me feel proud that there's actually people out here that have so much feeling and care about someone they don't know," he says.
Copyright CNN 2012