A 9-year-old Pennsylvania boy was found dead earlier this week and a person of interest in the investigation has been confirmed by the local district attorney.
Azuree Charles, 9, was found under a lawn chair behind a neighbor’s home in New Kensington on Wednesday after he was reported missing, TribLive.com reported.
Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said at a press conference Thursday that a person of interest in the investigation has been named but did not disclose the identity of the individual.
The Westmoreland County coroner said Wednesday that Azuree's death had been ruled a homicide.
And Ziccarelli reaffirmed the cause of death during her press conference Thursday.
"I can confirm again this was a homicide. The child did die at the hands of another person," Ziccarelli said, according to WTAE.
She said Azuree was reported missing at about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning and was later discovered dead in a wooded area near a home, according to TribLive.com.
The person who found Azuree's corpse was part of a search that was organized after the community heard of the boy's disappearance.
"When I saw feet, right away I came and got the detectives. It just broke my heart," neighbor Osie Taylor told WTAE.
His father, Jean Charles, was arrested on an unrelated charge on a warrant for simple assault and child endangerment from November.
Taylor said the boy was not wearing any shoes or socks.
New Kensington-Arnold School District superintendent Chris Sefcheck sent a letter to families Wednesday evening informing them of Azuree's death.
"It is with a heavy heart that I share news that one of our elementary students passed away suddenly sometime this morning before school," Sefcheck wrote. "A tragedy like this is not easy to accept, while causing many levels of grief across our close-knit community."
Azuree, a third-grader, was a cancer survivor. He is survived by his parents and three younger sisters.