BROWNSBURG (WTHR) - The search for a missing 8-year-old boy with autism in Brownsburg, Indiana ended in heartbreak Saturday morning.
The NBC affiliate out of Indianapolis WTHR reports that first responders found him in a retention pond -- not more than 100 yards from the home where he was staying, on the 200 block of Watercress. This was not the way anyone wanted this search to end.
“When I see tape, it's like that leave a bad feeling in your stomach,” said Chaunte Taylor, who lives in that neighborhood. “Like something bad happened.”
It started with lots of people showing up on Friday after hearing 8-year-old Shalom Lawson was missing. The little boy's family was visiting Brownsburg from Louisville. Even though they didn't know him personally, the volunteers still wanted to help. After looking for hours, for miles in every direction, the volunteer searches were called off last night, but police officers stayed up to try to track him down.
This morning's discovery was even more devastating for first responders who were searching for hours. Overnight, they had a glimmer of hope: footprints they thought were Shalom's in a construction site less than a mile from where he was last seen. After two rounds of rain last night that would have washed those footprints away, they had reason to believe that he was there – and alive – sometime after that.
“We all had a lot of hope, although we knew what our efforts were going to entail,” said Brownsburg Police Captain Jennifer Barrett. “We hoped and prayed for the best and it just did not turn out the way any of us would have liked.”
People around the community stepped up, including getting together for what would have been another volunteer search Saturday morning.
“There were people lined up around the entire parking lot, wrapped around both sides of the building, so I couldn't even see everyone,” said Sarah Donovan, who came to search with her family. “The police officers said there was close to a thousand.”
Donovan says they started getting worried when the search didn’t start at 11 am like it was planned to.
“As we started learning there was a lead, you could tell people were getting kind of anxious about what that lead was,” said Donovan.
“Probably the best way to describe it, if you can put it into words, is sheer devastation,” said Barrett. “The parents are completely devastated, as well as so many of us first responders.”
After all this, there will be plenty more thoughts, prayers, and children being held even closer tonight.
Full story from WTHR: click here.
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