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Lowell Police Department
The search for a 3-year-old boy who went missing shortly after he was dropped off at his babysitter's house came to a tragic end on Wednesday.
The body of the missing child, identified by authorities as Harry Kkonde, was found by a Massachusetts State Police Diver in a pond on Wednesday afternoon, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office wrote in a news release. There were no obvious signs of trauma.
The pond was located at a Christmas tree farm about 650 feet away from the babysitter's Lowell home, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference on Wednesday, according to ABC News.
"This is obviously every parent's worst nightmare: a child who disappears for a very short period of time, the excruciating hours of the search and then the recovery of his body," Ryan said at the news conference.
Harry was last seen around 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday by a neighbor, who told police they saw the boy in the babysitter's yard on Freda Lane, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office. He was reported missing about 15 minutes later.
His disappearance came shortly after his parents dropped him off around 7:00 a.m., officials said.
About 180 local police officers and firefighters aided in the search for the child, who his father had described to ABC affiliate WCVB-TV as "active" but nonspeaking.
"He likes going outside," the father told the outlet. "When he's at home, he goes to the yard and plays. He's a healthy kid but he can't speak. He's trying to learn how to speak but he can't talk."
During the search, Carlisle Police Chief John Fisher said officials were "checking every spot in that neighborhood from a breadbox on up," according to NBC Boston.
"A 3-year-old of average mobility, fortunately or unfortunately, can get pretty far," Fisher told reporters Wednesday morning at an earlier news conference. "So today we're going out even further than we might yesterday."
Lowell Police Department
During Wednesday afternoon's press conference, officials stated that they are still looking for answers.
"I want to be clear that we have no idea how Harry came to reach that pond, where he might have been or how long it might have taken him to reach that pond," Ryan said, per ABC News.
In their news release, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office wrote that "the investigation into this matter is ongoing and includes attempts to learn what time and how Harry entered the water."
The child's cause and manner of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
One of the owners of the farm told ABC station WCVB that they were "heartbroken."
"We both were looking for this little boy yesterday," the owner told the outlet. "We were sitting at the pond last night just saying let's hope they'll find him tonight. And we were at the pond last night sitting there, he was right there in the pond."
In a statement, police wrote, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Harry's family during this difficult time. The LPD is thankful to all of our law enforcement partners for their assistance and grateful to the community for their support and assistance throughout the search. "