Authorities have narrowed their search for a missing 11-year-old Florida girl with Asperger's syndrome to a two-mile radius.
Nadia Bloom was last seen Friday at about 3:15 p.m. wearing an orange shirt and blue shorts while riding her bike around a cul-de-sac in her Winter Springs neighborhood. Her mother said she called police when she noticed her daughter's abandoned bike with her helmet left on the handlebars.
Nadia left her house wearing a black backpack with a horse on the back of it with what they believe contained a Nikon camera and a digital recorder, Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle said today.
"We are conducting a missing persons investigation in conjunction with a live search and rescue," Brunelle said. "We don't have a lot of evidence to work with so we have to treat this as one of three scenarios: a kidnapping, lost-injured or runaway.
Authorities said Nadia's parents, Jeff and Tanya Bloom, described their daughter as having "ADD [attention-deficit disorder], anxiety and autism, with characteristics that are described as having Asperger's. Nadia is gifted in verbal communication but behind in nonverbal."
Brunelle also noted that Nadia's younger sister told police that she was reading the book "Lanie" by Jane Kurtz and became interested in how to survive in the woods. Her sister apparently suspected that Nadia may have wandered off with the hopes of making a nature video.
With the urging of Nadia's parents, rescuers have been leaving bottles of water and notes, instructing Nadia to stay where she is and wait for help.
Trained search teams are out again today navigating through the two-mile radius where police found her bike. Among the sites are two alligator-infested ponds, a vast forest and more than 100 homes in the gated community where the family lived. Search dogs, dive teams, a helicopter and a sonar vehicle to check the 15-feet-deep, pitch black waters have been deployed in the search.
"When it comes to the well-being of another person, we are not giving up," Brunelle said. We're not going to establish a timeline."
Authorities have visited all registered sex offenders in the area since Nadia's disappearance and plan to contact all of them in Seminole County in the coming days.
Police and other community volunteers plan to continue distributing fliers with Nadia's picture on them and are investigating every lead at this time. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement encouraged all tips to be called to their tipline: 866-282-0672.
Brunelle said he does not suspect foul play and that a person of interest has not been named in this case. Nadia's parents have been questioned and, Brunelle noted, they have been cooperative.
"Everyone remains hopeful," Brunelle said. " I remain hopeful that we will find Nadia."