It was raining in Aiken County, South Carolina, on the morning of Friday, November 22, 1985, as the remnants of Hurricane Kate blew through the area. When Donna Arrington woke up around 10:00 am, she was surprised to find her front door slightly ajar. After confirming her 10-month-old daughter, Christy, was safe in her crib, Donna made her way to her son’s bedroom. She expected to find 4-year-old Jeremy Grice sleeping soundly, but his room was empty. There was no sign of the family’s pet German shepherd, either.

As Donna searched around Jeremy’s room, she noticed that his shoes and socks were lying on the floor next to his bed. His favorite jacket, which he never went anywhere without, was also in his room. Wherever Jeremy was, he wasn’t wearing shoes or a coat.

Donna immediately checked the front yard, hoping to find Jeremy playing outside. She called his name but got no answer. Starting to panic, Donna secured Christy in her playpen and ran to her father-in-law’s home a short distance away. She frantically asked her father-in-law if Jeremy was with him, but he told her he hadn’t seen the little boy at all that morning. She then started knocking on neighbors’ doors, hoping that someone would know where her son was. No one was able to help her.

It was around 11:00 am when Donna returned home. She called Jeremy’s father, Ray Grice, and told him that she couldn’t find Jeremy. She then called her husband, Nick, and told him the same thing. Both men immediately left their respective jobs and joined in the search for the little boy.

When word got out that Jeremy wasn’t home, dozens of people in the neighborhood stepped up to help look for him. Most people thought he was just playing somewhere nearby and would be found soon. But as the minutes went by and neither he nor his dog were seen, people began to worry. Donna called the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office at 1:30 pm to say that Jeremy was missing.

As soon as they got there, deputies began searching the area around Jeremy’s house. Over 130 people took part in the first search, which went through the dense woods looking for any signs of where Jeremy might be. In the four miles around the house, they searched every inch of land until they found nothing by the end of the day.

Even though police tried to use bloodhounds to follow Jeremy’s trail, they were unsuccessful because dozens of neighbors had already searched the area for several hours before the police were called. The dogs couldn’t pick out Jeremy’s scent because there had been so much going on. Carroll Heath, the sheriff of Aiken County, said it was a setback. “The dogs probably couldn’t have picked up any scents because of the neighbors.”

When Jeremy’s German shepherd came home without him, there was less hope that he was just lost. Everyone in the area knew that Jeremy’s dog went everywhere with him. The only times he wasn’t with Jeremy were when he was in a car or someone’s house. Officials started to worry right away that Jeremy had been taken when the dog showed up.

Police searched the area to see if anyone could have seen the boy. Gen Van Buren told them that she had driven past Jeremy’s house on her way to work at 8:45 in the morning. A little boy and a German shepherd were playing in the front yard when she looked over. She instinctively slowed down on the gas because she thought one of them might run out into the street.

Geneva remembered that the kid was wearing blue jeans and a dark blue or purple shirt. He was also barefoot and not wearing a jacket, which she thought was strange. She hadn’t given it much thought at the time. It wasn’t until she got home from work that afternoon and saw that the neighborhood was full of police officers that she learned that Jeremy had gone missing.

Detectives were able to narrow down the time that Jeremy went missing thanks to Geneva’s report. He had been in the front yard at 8:45 am and wasn’t there when Donna woke up at 10:00 am. It was too bad that it didn’t help them figure out what had happened to him.

As they do with all investigations into missing children, detectives began questioning the family right away. Donna told them that the last time she saw Jeremy was when he got on the bus to go to Jefferson Elementary School for pre-kindergarten the day before. She worked the second shift at a nearby factory and wasn’t home when he got home from school on Thursday afternoon. His stepfather had picked him up at the bus stop and stayed with him all night.

Nick told the police that the night at home had been normal. After dinner, he gave Jeremy an animal cracker box. There was still half of the box on the kitchen table. Nick told Jeremy he could eat the rest with his breakfast because he wasn’t able to finish them the night before.

Donna got home from work around midnight and was so tired that she went to bed right away. Before 7 a.m., she got up for a short time to make Nick coffee while he got ready for work at the Kimberly Clark plant in Beech Island, South Carolina. Donna went to check on Jeremy after Nick had left. His blankets were piled up on his bed, so she thought he was hiding under them like usual, even though she didn’t see him. After that, she went back to bed to sleep for a few more hours.

Donna saw Jeremy’s animal crackers still on the kitchen table when she woke up at 10 a.m., where he had left them the night before. Jeremy loved animal crackers and usually ate them as soon as he woke up, but they were left alone. Donna thought that Jeremy was in a hurry to leave the house on Friday morning because of this. She thought that someone had gotten him to go outside.

Donna was also upset that Jeremy’s coat had been left behind; his father had given it to him as a gift, and he loved it so much. He often wouldn’t take it off, even when it was warm outside. She thought there was no way her son would have left the house without this jacket on his own.

Jeremy lived in a mobile home park with his mother, stepfather, and half-sister. The park was in the unincorporated community of Bath, which was in North Augusta, South Carolina. Bath is on the western edge of Aiken County, close to the border with Georgia. It is a very rural area. Someone from the outside wouldn’t just happen to find it; it was five miles from the nearest highway and in a pretty remote area. Because of where it happened, a stranger kidnapping seemed very unlikely, but police said they couldn’t rule it out either.

Jeremy normally would have had school on Friday, but there were no classes that day. Some people thought that Jeremy might have gone outside to wait for his school bus without realizing it was a school holiday because he loved going to school. However, he probably wouldn’t have been ready to go to school without shoes on, and it’s even less likely that a stranger was driving by while he was outside. Some investigators began to think that whatever had happened to the boy had started in his neighborhood.

The FBI joined the investigation early Saturday morning. A huge search was done on the ground and in the air. Deputies, agents, volunteers, and people walking and riding horses searched the area, and helicopters searched from above. Several people were given polygraph tests and dozens of people were interviewed near the mobile home park. Two ponds were drained. Detectives were not able to find Jeremy any faster.

Sunday was spent by detectives going door-to-door in the neighborhood to talk to people and look for clues about where Jeremy was. They put up a roadblock and questioned every driver who tried to get into or out of Jeremy’s neighborhood. They talked to people in the area and found out that two strange vehicles had been seen in the area around the time Jeremy went missing. Police were able to find both of these vans and rule them out as possible suspects in Jeremy’s disappearance.

Because Jeremy’s parents were divorced, police thought it was possible that he had been taken because of a custody dispute. Donna and Ray decided to split up a few years ago, but they got divorced without any problems. Donna had primary custody of Jeremy, but Ray still lived in the area and saw his son often.

In the days after Jeremy went missing, all of his family members were closely watched. However, a spokesperson for the State Division of Law Enforcement said that none of them were really suspects in the child’s disappearance.

The investigation had eight different police departments working on it by Monday. Sheriff Heath said that they were doing everything they could to find the boy who had gone missing. He said that Jeremy was not the kind of kid who would go into the woods by himself and that he was very afraid of water, so he never got too close to any ponds. Investigators didn’t think he was lost or had been in an accident; they thought someone had taken him.

Ten days after Jeremy was last seen, the police said they would pay $2,500 for information that would help them find him. As much as they hoped that the reward would spark new ideas and help with the investigation, no solid leads were found.

Jeremy’s case was no longer in the news by the end of the year, which was sad. Police officer Hugh Munn, who works for the State Division of Law Enforcement, said that detectives didn’t know anything more than they did on the day Jeremy went missing. He said that they had looked into every possible lead and still didn’t know if Jeremy was alive or de*ad. No one saw him being taken, and his home and the area around it showed no signs of any kind of crime. He had disappeared without a trace.

A poster about Jeremy’s disappearance was sent all over the country, and for the next year, investigators followed up on leads from all over the country. A child in Illinois’s daycare who looked a lot like Jeremy didn’t answer when his teacher called his name. The teacher called the police. An assistant at a dentist office in Georgia was sure she had cleaned Jeremy’s teeth. In Tennessee, a teacher thought that a new student might be the child who had gone missing. All of the tips sounded good, but none of them helped find Jeremy.

They liked to think that Jeremy was still alive and might have been taken by someone who wanted a child of their own. Donna looked at every little boy she saw and prayed that she would recognize Jeremy’s face. He was more like his practical father, Ray. He didn’t think Jeremy had been taken by a stranger. “I think the answer is in that neighborhood—there’s only one road in and out,” he told a reporter from a nearby newspaper. No strange cars are going through there.” It was an interesting thought.

Some of the investigators agreed with Ray’s thought process and said it was likely that the person who took Jeremy knew both him and his dog. Jeremy was very safe with the German shepherd, and a stranger probably wouldn’t have been able to get close enough to grab him.

It would have been Jeremy’s 11th birthday in May 1992. In honor of the event, the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office released a photo of him that shows how he might look as an 11-year-old. Police chief Heath hoped that the picture would lead to new information that would help them find Jeremy. There were some tips, but none of them worked out.

In March 1995, investigators searched Langley Pond in Langley, South Carolina after a self-proclaimed psychic insisted that Jeremy would be found there, along with a boat and a wheel. Although searchers did uncover a wheel from a tricycle and the bow of a long-abandoned boat, there was no sign of Jeremy.

Sadly, the search of Langley Pond was the last publicized effort to locate Jeremy. Although still considered an active missing person case, no new tips have been received in years and the investigation has long since gone cold. While Jeremy’s family members and investigators continue to hold onto the hope that he is alive somewhere, they admit that the chance of finding him is very slim.

Jeremy Grice was 4 years old when he went missing in 1985. He was a shy and friendly boy who loved playing outside with his dog. He has hazel eyes and blond hair, and at the time of his disappearance, he was 3 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 40 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a blue or purple shirt. Authorities believe that Jeremy was abducted; it is possible he is still alive but has only vague memories of his past. If you have any information about Jeremy, please contact the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office at 803–642–1761.

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