"It's been a nightmare," says Bayou La Batre Detective Scott Riva of the hunt for four children presumed dead.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran says divers and cadaver dogs in boats as well as three helicopters covered 100 square miles Wednesday searching for the children believed to have been thrown off the Dauphin Island Bridge by their father.
At a news conference, Cochran said he doubts the children, three-year-old year old Ryan Phan, 2-year-old Hannah Loung, 1 -year-old Lindsey Loung and 4- month-old Danny Loung survived the ordeal, and operations are now in the recovery stage.
Sheriff's officials said the children were believed to have been dropped from the highest part of the bridge sometime Monday morning.
37-year-old Lam Luong was formally charged with four counts of capital murder.
Bayou La Batre Police Chief John Joyner said Luong came to the small fishing village from Vietnam in 1984 and was a shrimper.
He said Luong apparently had a dispute with his wife before taking the children to the bridge.
Police said Luong reported the children missing Monday and told authorities that a woman who had the children failed to return them to him.
Sheriff's officers also confirmed Luong had a history of drug problems with crack cocaine.
A family spokesman said the couple had lived in Hinesville, Georgia, for about two years and had moved back to the Bayou La Batre area only a couple of weeks ago.
Luong is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Mobile County district court Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
Police do not believe the childrens' mother was involved.