The disappearance of a 9-year-old girl just north of Fort Wayne prompted a massive search Christmas Eve, with more than 120 people scouring the area around the mobile home park where she was last seen.
Planes, boats, police dogs and all-terrain vehicles were used to look for Aliahna Lemmon, but by Saturday evening authorities had found no sign of her.
"I don't know that we've left any stones unturned," Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries said.
Fries said investigators are considering all possibilities, including foul play. "We will rule nothing out," he said.
Aliahna lives with her mother, stepfather and sisters in the Northway mobile home park, near Diebold Road and North Clinton Street. Her mother told authorities she had been sick with a fever for about the past week, so Aliahna and her sisters, 6 and 8, had been staying at the home of a family friend who lives in the same mobile home park.
That family friend last saw Aliahna sleeping in a chair in his home at 6 a.m. Friday, before he went to the Marathon gas station at North Clinton Street and Mayhew Road to buy a cigar, the sheriff said.
When the friend returned, he went back to sleep thinking Aliahna was still in the home. At 10 a.m., Aliahna's mother and the friend spoke on the phone. After that call, the friend realized Aliahna was gone, and he assumed she was with her mother, Fries said.
Because of a lack of communication, Aliahna's mother and the family friend did not realize that neither had the girl until about 8:40 p.m. That's when they reported her missing, Fries said.
The search began Friday night and continued Saturday morning, focusing on the 5-mile radius around the mobile home park. Abandoned buildings and fields were combed; boats were used to search ponds and rivers; and on Saturday afternoon, an Indiana State Police plane could be seen circling the area.
The owner of the mobile home park, which holds about 30 homes, allowed authorities to look through buildings and vacant homes on the property, but nothing of note was found, Fries said.
The search was called off about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We've pretty much exhausted every possibility in this area," the sheriff said, adding that the search would resume if new information became available.
According to the Allen County Sheriff's Department website, 15 registered sex offenders live at the Northway mobile home park at 9435 N. Clinton St. Fries said police have spoken with those offenders, and they are not suspects in Aliahna's disappearance.
"That's the beautiful thing about the sex-offender registry. Within minutes, we know where they all are, and we can send officers to each one of their houses," the sheriff said.
Fries said authorities are not aware of any neglect or abuse issues in Aliahna's family and that she does not have a history of running away. He said her biological father lives out of state and that there are no custody disputes.
Investigators interviewed her mother, stepfather, sisters and the family friend on Friday night and again Saturday. Fries said investigators have no suspects or persons of interest in the case.
Fries said the family friend, who is about 40 years old and lives alone, shared his mobile home with Aliahna's grandfather, who died early this month. The friend is not a sex offender, the sheriff said.
Because authorities did not know whether Aliahna had been abducted, her disappearance did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert, which would have triggered a widespread notification.
Billy Frederick, who lives in the Northway mobile home park with his girlfriend, said an FBI agent came to his door Saturday afternoon asking about Aliahna. "I wish I could help, but I don't know nothing," the 29-year-old said.
Tim Houk, 46, who lives in a neighboring mobile home park, was visibly emotional about Aliahna's disappearance.
"It's terrible," he said. "I'm just hoping and praying that they find her safe."