Shoe of missing Henderson teen found in flood channel
Henderson teenager, William Mootz, is still missing after slipping into the fast-moving water of the Pittman Wash late Wednesday morning.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- Henderson teenager William Mootz is still missing after slipping into the fast-moving water of the Pittman Wash late Wednesday morning.
Wading through the mud and the muck, dozens of volunteers searched miles of wetlands for the soon-to-be Green Valley High School senior.
By dusk Thursday, they found their first real clue. One of William's sneakers was hidden in the debris. The discovery brought emotions to the surface.
"It's hard," says William's father Charlie Mootz. "This all feels like a bad dream. It will hit me, I know it will. But until then, I have to stay focused on what I can do now."
Charlie, and other family members, are helping lead the grassroots community search efforts. Charlie says finding the sneaker is the first sign of hope they've gotten. He believes it brings them a step closer to finding his son.
"It's a start," he says. "I am not going to give up. William wouldn't give up. He's a strong kid."
It comes after law enforcement rescue crews from Las Vegas and Henderson called off their official search until Monday morning. By then, they say the search area will be dry, and more accessible. They say they've already removed 15 tons of debris from the flood channel.
"As a parent, that's not acceptable to me," Charlie says. "That's my boy out there. Police think by this point it's a recovery mission and that it's okay to wait, but we don't. We're going to start again Friday morning at 6 a.m. Any help would be greatly appreciated."
Friends, family and complete strangers are determined in their search. They refuse to give up hope for William. The turnout of people wanting to help is a tribute to the teenager, who they say would have done the same.
"He would have rode his bike here knowing that somebody was here and he'd insist on staying and helping until that person was found," Charlie says. "There would be no question."
Police search dogs and a helicopter will be back out Monday morning.
Until then, volunteer searchers will be focusing on the area near Sam Boyd Stadium, all the way to Lake Las Vegas.
Anyone who plans to help should wear boots and work gloves. Also, searchers are asked to bring shovels and other digging equipment. Sunscreen and extra water is recommended.
A search headquarters has been set up in the Sam Boyd Stadium parking lot and closer to the flood channel, near Broadbent Boulevard and Russell Road.