The body of a 6-year-old Georgia boy who went missing in Panama City Beach, Florida, has been found, authorities said.
Enrique Cortez-Dubon and his family were in town from Atlanta on a week-long vacation when he disappeared around 11:30 a.m. Monday, WMBB reported, citing police.
Authorities recovered Enrique’s body from the sand Tuesday near “Surf Drive in unincorporated Bay County between beach accesses 21 and 22,” Panama City Beach police announced on Facebook. A cause of death has not been released, but police said the boy may have drowned.
We are saddened to report the body of 6-year-old Enrique Cortez-Dubon has been recovered between public beach accesses 21 and 22 on Surf Drive. This is approximately 1.5 miles east of where he was last seen more than 24 hours ago. Our condolences go to the family.
— Panama City Beach - Government (@beach_panama) July 6, 2021
Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez called it “a horrible accident.”
“Of course, this is not the outcome we would have wanted, but it is some closure for the family,” Talamantez said at a news conference Tuesday, WVTM reported. “Our hearts are broken for this family. We know they are grieving and our prayers are with them.”
Police said Enrique was last seen in the water Monday morning behind the Shores of Panama resort, where his family was staying for the week, according to WJHG. He was about knee-deep in the water, authorities said, and wasn’t wearing floaties.
More than 80 first responders assisted in the search, along with drone and helicopter sweeps, Talamantez said Tuesday.
The child’s body was found less than two miles from the resort hotel.
“Make no mistake, this is not the parent’s fault,” Talamantez said. “The fact is that the Gulf of Mexico was a dangerous place. You need to respect it as you would anything else that is dangerous.”
The incident remains under investigation.
Miami Herald reporter Madeleine Marr contributed to this story.