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Watch the Dateline episode "The Blue Blanket Mystery" now

Andrea Canning reports.

The carnival rolled in to Sayreville, New Jersey on Memorial Day weekend, 1991. It marked the unofficial start of summer.

15-year-old Jennifer was supposed to meet up with her aunt, 23-year-old Michelle, and Michelle’s son, 5-year-old Timmy.

But when Jennifer arrived and found Michelle – Timmy was nowhere to be found.

Something was wrong. Michelle told Jennifer she couldn’t find Timmy.

They notified an officer nearby and began searching the carnival grounds.

Timmy was wearing a red tank top, red shorts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sneakers.

After about 20 minutes of searching the immediate area, there was no sign of Timmy.

Michelle made an announcement over the loudspeaker: “Timmy, if you can hear me, Mommy needs you to come out now.”

The carnival fell silent.

Timmy did not respond.

The search extended beyond the grounds of the carnival, with hundreds of volunteers searching for Timmy.

Jim Ryan, then the head of the local volunteer first aid squad in South Amboy, New Jersey, talks about the search efforts and how the community rallied together to help find the 5-year-old.

The Search for Timmy Wiltsey

April 28, 202202:34

After about a year with few answers, Timmy’s remains were found in a marshy area.

Loved ones remember Timmy as a fun and joyful little boy.

Remembering Timmy Wiltsey

April 28, 202202:30

Timmy’s disappearance brought about a massive investigation and 30 years of twists and turns.

It all came to a sudden and dramatic end, just a few months ago.

Watch the full episode, “The Blue Blanket Mystery,” now.

You can also watch on Peacock TV or listen to the podcast.