On Thursday morning, Missouri 4-year-old Darnell Gray was reported missing.
He’d vanished from his bedroom, where his father’s girlfriend had put him to sleep on Wednesday night, New Tribune reports.
Police initially thought the boy had wandered off, prompting a search involving over 100 officers and volunteers to help look for him.
Over several days, they searched the town and even drained a pond near the boy’s family’s apartment.
On Monday afternoon, Darnell’s mother, whose name has not been made public, made a desperate plea:
“I’m reaching out to all the people If you please have any information on my son, please come forth. Please, please, please.”
But on Tuesday, authorities discovered the 4-year-old’s body after searching a new area for the first time, Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said at a press conference.
Williams said that they now suspect that the child was killed, but did not disclose his cause of death. He said:
“Foul play was not suspected until we found Darnell’s body… We do know he is deceased, and it was not by his own accord.”
Williams delivered the hard news to the child’s mother himself and said the boy’s family was upset over the loss.
Marie Schoults, a mother and volunteer who helped look for Darnell, said the community held a vigil for the child. She told KOMU:
“It’s hard knowing that a four-year-old boy is gone before his life began. That is hard to take.”
Williams said police did not have any suspects in the death as of Tuesday and no arrests had been made.
Editor’s Note: The father’s girlfriend, Quatavia Givens, 26, has been arrested for the child’s death. Read the update here.