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The search for a young boy who went missing in Michigan on Christmas day came to a tragic conclusion when authorities found the child’s body in a body of water.
Beau Brennan Belson was last seen outside of a home in Six Lakes on Wednesday, where he was playing with his family, WFSA reports. At some point he disappeared and, after realizing he was gone, his family reported him missing. Hundreds of volunteers joined the search for the boy, which involved the use of a helicopter and drones, according to the outlet.
In a heartbreaking update, West Michigan State Police confirmed via Twitter on Thursday that Belson’s body had been found in a pond near where he had been last seen.
“The body of 5-year-old Beau Belson was recovered from a pond adjacent to the home from which he was reported missing shortly after noon today by the MSP Marine Services Team,” that update reads. “The MSP Lakeview Post and 6th District detectives will continue with their investigation.”
Lt. Commander Kevin Sweeney also confirmed the child’s death during a press conference on Thursday, ABC News.
“Unfortunately, he was found in a pond and he is no longer with us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” he said.
Belson, who had autism, was last seen wearing his pajamas, boots, and a jacket. The significant temperature drop at nightfall prompted even greater concern over his safety, according to the Associated Press.
Although a cause of death has not yet been announced, authorities said that his death did not seem to be suspicious, according to WFSA. However, they will be conducting an investigation into the child’s passing.
The pond where Belson was found is located in Montcalm County, in an area near the home of his grandmother, according to the Associated Press.
“The belief is he wandered away from the house but nobody knows which direction he left from his yard,” Michigan State Police Lt. David Cope told PEOPLE. He said later, “Any 5-year-old is probably scared, but we don’t know if he is hunkering down hiding or moving. We want to find him as quick as we can.”
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