Xavior Harrelson

Xavior Harrelson in an undated photo provided by the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office.

MONTEZUMA — The search for an 11-year-old boy who vanished in May continued Thursday, as law enforcement swept through a wooded area near where he went missing.

Xavior Harrelson, who went missing days before his 11th birthday on May 27, hasn't been seen or heard from since. He was last seen at his home at the Spruce Village Mobile Home Park.

For several hours on Thursday, multiple law enforcement searched the Fox Forest County Recreation Area. The area is about 531 acres and is located just west of Montezuma near the trailer park where Harrelson lived at the time he went missing.

The Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa State Patrol assisted in the search. Police canines were used. It's not clear if law enforcement located anything helpful to the investigation.

Mitch Mortvedt, the assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, confirmed the search Thursday but said law enforcement couldn't comment on what led investigators to the area.

The area immediately west of Harrelson's home also includes Diamond Lake Park, and further west is Lake Ponderosa. Within a few days of Harrelson's disappearance, law enforcement and the public had joined forces to conduct a search of the wildlands within a one-mile radius, but found "nothing of value" to the investigation, they said then.

It's been nearly three and a half months since Harrelson's disappearance, but law enforcement hasn't given up hope.

"We're not giving up hope that we're going to get it resolved," Mortvedt said. "We all hope that he's OK and alive somewhere. We're still dedicating resources to it and personnel to it, and we're hoping to get that break that we're able to resolve it."

Harrelson's mother Sarah Harrelson did not initially speak to the press, but last month spoke to the Des Moines Register and handed out fliers at the Iowa State Fair as efforts to find her son continued.

"The word 'why' will drive you crazy. Why him?" she told the paper, vowing to never stop looking for her son.

Those with information about Harrelson should contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office at 641-623-2107 or contact Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at crimestoppersofcentraliowa.com or 1-800-452-1111.

A reward fund for information leading to finding Harrelson was established at the Montezuma State Bank. As of Thursday, the reward was at $36,200. Those wishing to contribute can contact the bank at 641-623-5766.

Harrelson is 4-foot-8 and weighs 100 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. When he was last seen he was wearing a red T-shirt, blue pajama pants and black high-top shoes.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Oskaloosa Herald and the Ottumwa Courier. He can be reached at kocker@oskyherald.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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