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Authorities in California say they've uncovered the remains of a toddler during their search for a 2-year-old boy who has been missing for a week — while the boy's parents are contesting police claims about not cooperating in the search.
The Madera Police Department said it discovered remains of a toddler early Thursday, believed to be Thaddeus Sran, at a remote farming area outside of the city, apparently ending a days-long hunt for the boy, according to local outlet Fox26. The victim's age matches up with Sran's age, but police said an autopsy is needed for official confirmation.
“The infant is deceased. The age is approximately 2 to 3 years old,” Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, the Fresno Bee reported. “We cannot, at this time, confirm that it’s little Thaddeus until test results return to confirm that.”
The boy's parents reported him missing on July 15, sparking a hunt for Sran that intensified after they told officials he was born premature with health issues and received nutrition through a feeding tube.
The case was complicated on Wednesday after Madera police announced that Sran's parents had "stopped cooperating" with the investigation into their son's disappearance.
"Unfortunately, Thaddeus’ parents stopped cooperating early on in the investigation. We believe their assistance in this case would be helpful. We are hopeful that they will resume cooperating with Madera Police Department detectives," city police said in a press release.
Lawyers for the parents are contesting this statement, saying the family had stopped speaking with police after initially cooperating due to "accusatory" questioning.
“In light of what had apparently become the accusatory nature of the interrogation of this couple, I advised them in no uncertain terms to cease speaking with law enforcement without the presence of their attorney," attorney Roger Nuttall wrote in a two-page statement provided to Oxygen.com.
He added the parents remain willing to help in the investigation, but have not been contacted by police for follow-up inquiries.
“I stand by what our department released. Any deviation from that, I wouldn’t believe it," Lawson said when asked about the statement at his Thursday presser, YourCentralValley.com reported.
Sran's parents have not been accused of or charged with a crime in the case. The investigation remains ongoing.
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