PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say they have found the body of an 8-year-old autistic boy who went missing while vacationing in the Florida Panhandle.
Owen Elliot Black was on the beaches of Perdido Key with his mother when he wandered off on his own around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. Authorities said the family was vacationing from Louisiana.
The Pensacola News Journal reports hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials assembled for a massive search by land and sea Sunday, knocking on doors and looking in cars. Deputies and K-9 dogs trampled over sand dunes and searched in bushes.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said on the agency’s Facebook page that a beachgoer found Owen around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Morgan said they are investigating the cause of death but the boy had likely drowned.
“We ask for the community and nation’s prayers for this family in mourning and our thanks are again extended to all law enforcement, military, state and federal agencies as well as the hundreds of volunteers who responded to Owen’s call,” Morgan said in the statement.
Chris Ryan, who was visiting Perdido with friends, said he saw Owen shortly before he disappeared.
“I saw him and his mother at the beach together,” Ryan said. “About an hour later, I saw him near the water and I remember noticing that she wasn’t there.”
Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com