Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 | 1:12 p.m.
Volunteers, including at least one family member, are mounting a search for a 10-year-old Las Vegas girl missing since Friday.
The Red Rock Search and Rescue/Recovery group has “activated” for a new mission: finding Jade Morris, who was last seen Friday near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Alta Drive.
The girl was last seen with Brenda Stokes, 50, a Las Vegas woman who later Friday was arrested after she allegedly used razors to slash Joyce Rhone, a co-worker, in an attack at the Bellagio casino.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Stokes was engaged to the 10-year-old’s father, and the girl’s mother suspects the father, Rhone and Stokes were involved in some sort of love triangle that prompted the attack. Rhone survived; Stokes is in police custody.
Phil Tucker, Jade’s grandfather, told reporters this morning Stokes often would pick up Jade for visits.
“It really wasn’t uncommon for her to come by and take (Jade) somewhere,” Tucker said as he prepared to join in the search with the Red Rock volunteers. “We had no reason to think (Stokes) would hurt (Jade).”
Tucker said it was his understanding Stokes was not cooperating with police regarding Jade’s disappearance.
Detectives from Metro’s homicide and missing persons divisions are investigating the girl’s disappearance.
Officer Jose Hernandez, Metro spokesman, said he didn’t know anything about the private search for Jade and added that he had no more details about Metro’s investigation into her disappearance.
A news conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. by Metro to discuss the investigation was abruptly cancelled about 12:45 p.m.
David Cummings, a commander with Red Rock Search and Rescue/Recovery, said he expected about 75 people to take part today in the search. The group is focusing its efforts in a sparsely populated area south of the Everett Apartments in the far southwestern valley near West Windmill Road and South Rainbow Boulevard. Stokes lived in the Everett Apartments complex, Cummings said.
Cummings said Red Rock volunteers were searching at the request of Jade’s family. He said the volunteers had no information to believe the girl was in the focus area but wanted “to eliminate the area as a possibility for investigators.”
“It’s a needle in a haystack,” he said, “but we don’t give up.”
He said searchers had not idea whether the girl was alive.
Tucker dismissed one theory about his granddaughter. “There’s no way in my mind she’s lost,” he said.
Should the searchers come upon anything suspicious, Cummings said, they would notify Metro.
Jade was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt and a long brown jacket. She’s described by police as black, about 5 feet tall, around 70 pounds and was last seen wearing pigtails.
Anyone with information is urged to call Metro at 828-2907 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 or visit www.crimestoppersofnv.com.