Two young boys missing since a custody visit with their father about three weeks ago have been found dead in his car, authorities said Monday. The father's body was discovered nearby.

The bodies of Duncan Connolly, 9, and his 7-year-old brother, Jack, were found Sunday night in the vehicle in rural Putnam County, about 100 miles southeast of Chicago, authorities said. The body of Michael Connolly, 40, was found about 60 feet away.

Autopsies were scheduled, McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmering said. Authorities declined to release further details pending a news conference later Monday.

Authorities have said the boys went missing March 8 after their father failed to return them following a custody visit. He was supposed to drop them off at the police department in their hometown of Leroy, about 10 miles southwest of Bloomington in McLean County.

A court order had barred Michael Connolly from contact with the boys' mother, Amy Leichtenberg.

"I feel that the judicial system failed me," Leichtenberg said in an e-mailed statement. "I pray that the courts listen to the warnings from other parents like me."

The boys' family and local authorities launched a nationwide search, and friends and neighbors had gathered for prayer vigils since the brothers went missing. Leichtenberg used a Facebook page to solicit tips on their whereabouts and investigators have said they followed possible leads from as far away as Virginia.

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