Benefit concert hopes to strike a chord in search efforts for missing Montezuma boy

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GRINNELL, Iowa — Music can help heal, inspire and motivate. Tuesday night’s benefit concert at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds hoped to strike a chord with anyone to bring forth the truth behind Xavior Harrelson’s disappearance.

There’s power in music. “It’s a minute to kind of stop your mind from focusing on pain and maybe a reason to smile,” said event volunteer Lacey Bellenger, who lives in nearby Brooklyn.

The power of the event in Grinnell aimed to increase the reward fund for information leading to finding the 11-year-old who has been missing since late May. “We can’t stop. We can’t stop looking for Xavior. We can’t stop putting flyers out and every county needs them,” said the event’s organizer, Joy VanLandSchoot.

As lyrics from Adam Whitehead and Hunter Mason echoed across the crowd, many made sure Xavior’s favorite color orange was the loudest statement of the night. Hundreds wore orange shirts in the young boy’s honor. VanLandSchoot said, “I Feel like Poweshiek County sets the example. They do so wonderful at jumping to help out. We have people from other counties that came to volunteer and drove an hour and a couple hours.”

The county is no stranger to recent tragedy. Xavior’s Montezuma home is just 15 miles south of Brooklyn where Mollie Tibbetts went missing and was found dead in 2018. “Determination and our faith. Our community has learned through the Mollie incident about what faith brings and how you can stand behind one another,” said Bellenger.

A silent auction and free-will donation to the event will drive up the reward and hopefully bring an incentive for the truth behind Xavior’s disappearance. “It shows the impact of a small town bringing everyone together is an amazing thing to do,” said performer Hunter Mason.

With high notes, the community is keeping high hopes of finding Xavior. Bellenger said, “Even if it’s just that smile or hug. Anything we can do to help anyone suffering.”

Law enforcement and the people that are tirelessly searching for Xavior urge anyone with information big or small to call 911 or 641-623-2107.

As of Tuesday morning, the reward fund was nearly $23,000. Organizers are still calculating how much money Tuesday night’s benefit helped raise.

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