Body of boy, 5, missing for three months recovered from fast-flowing river

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A massive search was launched within the hour Lucian Munguia went missing (Image: Yakima Police Department)
A massive search was launched within the hour Lucian Munguia went missing (Image: Yakima Police Department)

The body of a child recovered from a fast flowing river has been identified as that of a missing five-year-old boy.

A massive search was launched after the non-verbal autistic boy went missing while out with family at Sarg Hubbard Park, Yakima, Washington state, US, on September 10, 2022.

Lucian Munguia was reported missing within 15 minutes with police and the local community joining the search. He was last seen heading across a parking lot toward the Yakima River.

Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice has said the boy had been the victim of an accidental drowning and there was no evidence of foul play.

Body of boy, 5, missing for three months recovered from fast-flowing river eideeidediqxzinvThick bushes line parts of the Yakima river, which hampered search efforts (Getty Images)

His skeletal remains were found by a dog walker on December 29, almost four months after he disappeared.

Nicola Bulley's children 'cried their eyes out' after being told 'mummy's lost'Nicola Bulley's children 'cried their eyes out' after being told 'mummy's lost'

Explaining the time delay Yakima Deputy Fire Chief D.J. Goldsmith, who participated in the search efforts, said the long search for the boy was expected due to the nature of the river.

He said: “Even though we give 100% effort to locate things, including using infrared drones, there are so many tributaries and multiple places where things can get hung up."

“We did everything we could, but it was a tragedy that we couldn’t do something else," he added to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Body of boy, 5, missing for three months recovered from fast-flowing riverA photo of the boy released as search efforts were underway (Yakima Police Department)

The autopsy, which was conducted the day after the boy's remains were found, used dental records to identify the boy.

DNA tests have also been run and the results will be released by police when available.

In a statement from local police, authorities tanked the help of the community. It read: "The Yakima Police Department and Yakima County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all of the community members, volunteers, and professional organisations who helped in the search for Lucian. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Lucian."

An FBI dive team was called in to help with the search, looking in the park's ponds and other nearby bodies of water.

Body of boy, 5, missing for three months recovered from fast-flowing riverLucian Munguia had autism and was non-verbal (Yakima Police Department)

Even when authorities scaled back their search efforts, the boy's family members along with volunteers continued to look for him.

A $10,000 reward was offered for information to find Lucian.

One of the volunteers who helped with the search was Flo Quiroz, a friend of Lucian's mother, Sandra.

Mum appeared 'completely normal' moments before vanishing while walking dogMum appeared 'completely normal' moments before vanishing while walking dog

She spent four days looking along the river.

She said the public support for the family was amazing to see.

"He became all of our baby," she said, "and now we can be there for the family."

Charlie Jones

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