IMAGE: Tristan Anthony White and Avery Lee Stately
AP file
Tristan Anthony White, 4, left, and Avery Lee Stately, 2, are shown in undated photos provided by the family.
updated 11/26/2006 8:28:27 PM ET 2006-11-27T01:28:27

Authorities called off a major ground search Sunday on the Red Lake Indian Reservation after they turned up no sign of two young brothers who have been missing since they went out to play Wednesday morning.

But FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said authorities would continue pursing leads, and the effort to find 4-year-old Tristan White and 2-year-old Avery Stately was not over.

“We will not stop looking for Tristan and Avery until they are found,” McCabe said.

McCabe said it’s still unclear whether they wandered off or were taken. “We don’t have any indication at this time that foul play is involved,” he said.

Investigators had received around 70 phone tips, McCabe said, but none led to the boys so far.

The FBI last week offered a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the boys.

Falling temperatures had dimmed hopes that the boys could have survived in the woods. By Sunday, afternoon temperatures in the area were in the 20s, and there was a chilly wind out of the northwest.

McCabe acknowledged that the hundreds of searchers and volunteers were disappointed with the decision to call off the ground search.

“They’ve all been so focused and so dedicated to finding these two children that it’s somewhat discouraging for them to have to leave,” he said. “They really wanted to find these boys.”

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