WALDPORT, Ore. – The bodies of two young children were found in a coastal inlet, but authorities don't know who they were or where they were from.
The children appeared to be brother and sister, but police have accounted for all local children and have received no related reports of missing youngsters.
"It's bad enough to have one child found dead," said Lt. Ed Stallard of the Lincoln County Sheriffs Office. "But now [we] have two, and then apparently some parents that cannot or will not report the children missing."
Authorities notified police agencies across the West Coast, and the FBI is searching national databases of missing children.
The investigation has focused on a car with California license plates that was parked for hours near Waldport last week.
The boy's body washed ashore Wednesday in a small inlet that feeds Alsea Bay. It appeared to have been in the water for about 10 hours and an autopsy found no obvious signs of trauma. Authorities did not release details on how the children died.
Divers found the girl's body in the bay on Saturday, and police believe she died at about the same time as the boy. The boy was between 4 and 6 years old, and the girl was about 3.
"The facial features are similar," Stallard said Sunday. "The fact that they were both found in the same body of water within a couple of feet of each other — all that's consistent with other evidence that we've been obtaining in our investigation."
People living near the small coastal community had reported the car with California plates parked in an out-of-the-way private drive on the day the boy's body drifted to shore. The driver seemed asleep behind the wheel, then got out and stood by the car, Stallard said.
On Sunday, a stream of cars passed near the spot where the bodies were found, and a small memorial of toys and candles was assembled as people stopped to pay their respects.
"It's terrible. This time of year it shouldn't be like this," said Gary Bessette, one of the mourners. "Those little kids should be running around anticipating what they're going to get for Christmas."