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A 4-Year-Old Boy Vanished from Home After His Aunt Fell Asleep. No One Knows What Happened to Him Next.

Myers
Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; MEGA

Tristen Myers.

May 13 2024, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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As the decades continue to pass, there has been no sign of what happened to Tristen Myers — including evidence that shows whether he's dead or alive.

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That fact has kept investigators holding out hope of finding the boy who left his home in Roseboro, North Carolina, on Oct. 5, 2000 and vanished.

Myers, who was 4 when he went missing and would be 28 years old today, slipped out of his aunt and uncle's home, where he lived, with two dogs that later would turn back up without him.

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"If, and I'm saying if, he were dead, a trace would have turned up by now,'' Chris Godwin, a detective with the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, told The Fayetteville Observer in 2018. "So, unless something turns up, we'll keep searching."

Myers, nicknamed "Buddy," was last seen by his aunt, who said he was playing in front of the television before she fell asleep, according to WRAL. When she woke up, Myers and the dogs were gone.

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“It’s been hard,” his aunt, Donna Myers, told WRAL in 2013. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think about him.”

Donna Myers has held out hope that Tristen is out there somewhere. “I still believe to this day that he is alive,” Donna Myers told WRAL in 2013.

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Still, if she's fortunate enough to see him again one day, he'll no longer by the little boy. “It’s hard for me to realize that he’s not a 4-year-old little boy anymore,” Donna Myers told WRAL. “We don’t give up,” added John Myers, the child's uncle.

According to The Fayetteville Observer, the missing boy was born in Mississippi before he was given to his nearby grandparents, Robery and Sally Myers, to raise. He later went to live with Robert and Donna Myers in North Carolina after Sally Myers, his mother, became seriously ill with liver disease. His father, Robert Myers, believed it would be better for his son to live with an aunt and uncle as he could not properly care for the boy with the mother sick.

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The Fayetteville Observer reported that the child showed signs of being emotionally and physically underdeveloped and had run away from home multiple times in the past, so many that they put a buzzer on the back door so they could hear if he left.

There was no buzzer on the front door, however, and on Oct. 5 he was able to walk out unnoticed. No one knows what happened after he left. Police launched a massive search, especially near ponds since he couldn't swim, but they found neither the boy nor the dogs.

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The dogs, however, made it back home in the following weeks, according to The Fayetteville Observer.

Godwin said he doesn't consider it a "cold case." "Not by any stretch of the imagination," Godwin said. "It's an active investigation."

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