HAMPTON, Va. — It’s a question that still haunts many people in Hampton Roads: Where is 4-year-old Codi Bigsby?
Hampton Police started looking for him one year ago on January 31, 2022, after his father Cory Bigsby reported him missing.
Crews from other cities stepped in to help. For a week, the Hampton Police Division and other agencies set up a command center in a parking lot across from the Buckroe Pointe Apartments in Hampton, where Codi lived. They used divers, drones, dogs, and volunteer teams to search around his home.
“There are a number of really emotional cases that I know I will carry with me until I am not on the planet anymore. This case is one of them,” said Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot. “Emotionally intense, very sad."
For the first time, 13News Now conducted a one-on-one interview with the Hampton police chief. He said the case is still active.
“We are still looking through the evidence, making sure we have followed up on everything that needs to be followed up on,” Chief Talbot said. “Making sure we have understood the technology that we’ve uncovered throughout the investigation. Not much in terms of new tips or uncovering new evidence, but still working the case with the hopes of solving the mystery.”
He said investigators have chased many leads over the past year, but those leads haven’t panned out.
“What I can share is that a number of things have come up since Codi Bigsby was first reported missing that we haven’t been able to make public,” Chief Talbot said. “A number of things have come up that had us excited about the possibility of figuring out what happened. And none of those things have panned out so far. So, it tends to happen unexpectedly as we got a call a week or so ago of something that came up in the community. Which is an indication that it is still an active case. People are interested in it, every once in a while we are out there looking at something.”
Chief Talbot said he doesn’t believe Codi is still alive.
“I’ve struggled with that question for a long time,” he said. “I don’t think it is reasonable at this point to believe that Codi Bigsby is alive. I don’t think it is reasonable. He is four years old. He obviously wouldn’t be able to care for himself. No indication that he was taken. It is not reasonable to believe he is alive at this point.”
This case captured the hearts of thousands of people in the community. Search groups have gone door to door and combed through wooded areas over the last 12 months, hoping to find the little boy.
“Privately, we have always stayed searching for Codi,” said Joe Slabinski with Water Team Inc. “Everywhere we go, he is always right there on the forefront.”
Water Team Inc. looks for missing people in Hampton Roads and Slabinski, who is a team lead, said his crew has spent countless hours on Codi’s case.
“That took us all the way out to Roanoke, Richmond,” Slabinski said. “Almost everything on the Peninsula, from the Williamsburg footprint to the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Bay, James River.”
A week before Christmas 2022, Hampton Police got a call about remains found behind a middle school. Many people thought it could be Codi, but investigators said they were animal remains.
Slabinski said the incident showed him how much the community is still interested in this case.
“My phone just started going off, asking me what I know,” Slabinski said.
If Codi is found now, he said people would find minimal remains.
"Logic tells us, you know, here almost a year out, that we would be looking for physical bone structure, skeletal remains,” Slabinski said. “Very little else to go along with that. Most of the cartilage and everything else would have been liquefied. If he was preserved, then the sky is the limit.”
While community tips have slowed down, Chief Talbot said investigators won’t put this case on the shelf.
“We want to bring closure to this case,” he said. “We want to do everything we possibly can do for this child.”
Investigators still want to hear from anyone who might know what happened to Codi or where he is now. Chief Talbot said even the smallest tip could move the investigation forward.
"We still believe that there is somebody out there that has information that would be meaningful to us,” Chief Talbot said. “Somebody that may have lived close to the child, or the child’s family. We would love to hear from anybody who thinks that they could be helpful.”