Search teams spotted a child's body in an icy Colorado pond Tuesday in a grim sign that they may have found the 6-year-old boy who vanished on New Year’s Eve.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz told reporters they found the body inside the pond early Tuesday morning after a frantic hunt for David Puckett, who was believed to have wandered away from his home on Saturday night. He said crews were working to identify the body but told the boy’s family what they found.
“It’s a crime scene and we are going to treat it as such,” Metz said, adding that there was no apparent breakage in the pond but the K9 units were “interested” in the area.
The coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine the victim’s identity and cause of death.
The FBI and other law enforcement launched a massive hunt for Puckett on Monday, going door-to-door within 2.5 miles of his home in Aurora and using bloodhounds and a helicopter.
An Amber Alert was issued and police said a $10,000 reward was offered.
Aurora police appealed for help to find David as quickly as possible partly because of coming cold weather, with lows expected in the upper teens.
"The public can help by physically searching their homes, automobiles, and any structures on their property where a child may be able to hide," a police statement said.
Authorities said that foul play wasn't suspected, but they said they have registered sex offenders who lived in the area.
Police revealed on Monday evening that someone outside the family had seen the boy the day he disappeared, but they didn't elaborate.
The FBI told the Denver Post that the agency assigned 50 agents to the case, including one who is highly specialized in missing children searches.
His mother on Sunday issued a tearful appeal for people to help find him and said he was only wearing a light jacket.
Police said David had wandered off before.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.