Autis­tic 5-year-old found dead af­ter search

The boy ap­peared to have wan­dered o≠ from a New Year’s Eve party.

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

» The body of a 5-year-old Penn­syl­va­nia boy with autism was found in a canal about a quar­ter mile from a rel­a­tive’s home where the boy wan­dered away, bare­foot and with­out a coat, dur­ing a New Year’s Eve party, au­thor­i­ties an­nounced Satur­day.

Le high County Coroner Scott Grim said an autopsy Mon­day will help de­ter­mine when Jayliel Vega Batista en­tered the wa­ter at Canal Park in Al­len­town.

“Pre­lim­i­nar­ily, this is be­ing con­sid­ered a tragic accident,” Al­len­town po­lice Chief Keith Mor­ris said at the same Satur­day evening news con­fer­ence.

The boy went miss­ing about 10:30 p.m. Thurs­day, af­ter fam­i­ly­mem­bers told po­lice hewas play­ing with a tablet com­puter with other chil­dren be­fore he sim­ply wan­dered away with­out be­ing im­me­di­ately no­ticed. Tem­per­a­tures were near freez­ing Fri­day night into Satur­day, and rose to only the high 30s.

Search dogs tracked the boy’s scent to the canal, where a searcher found the tablet early Satur­day af­ter­noon. That prompted po­lice to call in fire depart­ment divers, who found the boy’s body about 8 feet from shore in 6 feet ofwa­ter, au­thor­i­ties said.

“At this point, we don’t be­lieve therewas any foul play in- volved,” Mor­ris said. But po­lice were con­tin­u­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion in hopes of pin­point­ing where, how and why the boy may have en­tered the wa­ter.

The chief couldn’t im­me­di­ately say whether any­one might face charges be­cause the boy wan­dered away, though au­thor­i­ties took care to note they­were at­tempt­ing to as­sist the boy’s griev­ing fam­ily.

The tablet was found about 30 yards away from where the dogs traced the boy’s scent. It’s pos­si­ble the boy en­tered the wa­ter at that lo­ca­tion, then drifted to the spotwhere hewas found Satur­day, au­thor­i­ties said.

Grim couldn’t say how the boy died, or whether he was likely still alive when he en­tered the wa­ter.

“We’ll de­ter­mine that Mon- day at the autopsy,” Grim said adding that cal­cu­la­tions in­volv­ing the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture and the body tem­per­a­ture of the boy will help de­ter­mine how long he’s been in the wa­ter and how he died.

Thurman Clark, 25, told The (Al­len­town) Morn­ing Call that he found the tablet com­puter shortly af­ter join­ing other searchers at the canal about 1 p.m. Satur­day.

“I really hope it’s not his,” Clark told the news­pa­per then.

Ear­lier in the day, po­lice Capt Glen Dor­ney said 20 searc­hand-res­cue dog teams were look­ing for Jayliel and crews were re-can­vass­ing his neigh­bor­hood be­cause a search of nearby woods and other pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions showed no signs of the boy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.