A missing 5-year-old boy with autism in Washington state has been found dead in a river after disappearing in September.
Lucian Munguia’s remains were found Thursday by a resident walking his dog near the Yakima River. This was reported by the Yakima Police Department.
An autopsy performed Friday determined the remains belonged to a nonverbal child who was last seen Sept. 10 at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima.
After police investigators and the county coroner’s office compared dental records, they confirmed the remains belonged to a five-year-old boy.
Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtis said Friday that the five-year-old boy was the victim of an accidental drowning in the river, and that there was no evidence of that.
Police also said they do not believe foul play was involved in the boy’s death. They will provide additional information once the DNA test is complete.
After Lucian disappeared on Sept. 10, the team came together to find the boy, whose family reported him missing to authorities 15 minutes after they started looking for him, triggering a massive search. Yakima Hearld-Republic reported.
Yakima Deputy Fire Chief DJ Goldsmith, who participated in the search, said the nearly four-month search for Lucian was not unusual given the nature of the river.
“Even though we try 100% to locate things, even with the use of infrared drones, there are still a lot of tributaries and a few places where things could be hanging,” Goldsmith said.
Authorities have not said how his family lost track of him. Search and rescue teams from several nearby districts scoured the park, river and surrounding area in search of the boy.
An FBI dive team thoroughly investigated the park’s pond and other nearby bodies of water. Even after authorities scaled back the search, volunteers and Lucian’s family continued to search for the boy.
A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the search for Lucian.
Police officers expressed their condolences to the child’s relatives in connection with the tragic discovery.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lucian’s family and friends,” police said.