North Carolina investigators announced on Sat. that a body found in a pond in Laurinburg is likely missing AMBER Alert boy, Raul Johnson.
A tweet provided by the Charlotte, NC, FBI indicated that the boy’s body was found in a pond off of Pearidge Road on Sat. afternoon at around 1:45 p.m.. The decision to drain the pond came from Scotland County Sheriff Ralph E. Kersey, who said that it was a “top area of interest” after three search dogs went to the same area, according to the News & Observer.
Sadly, investigators believe we have found the body of 4-year-old Raul Gonzalez Johnson in a pond off Peabridge Road. We ask the media to be respectful & not go to the scene during the recovery process.
— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) January 27, 2018
Time reports that during a press conference on Sat., officials said the Scotland County Medical Examiner’s office was still working to officially identify the body and the cause of death. The little boy was reported missing on Jan. 24 after he wandered away from his family’s Laurinburg home while barefoot.
“This is the outcome everyone feared,” Kersey said as he held back tears during a Sat. press conference. “The family of Raul needs our prayers and support.”
At the time of his disappearance, Raul’s grandfather was watching him and his 6-year-old sister while the children’s mother worked. An elderly neighbor who gives the boy cookies and snacks every morning said he walked over to her house as usual on Weds., then walked away when she told him to go home. The neighbor reportedly said that Raul was quiet on Weds. morning and didn’t speak a word to her, which was unusual.
More than 200 volunteers, along with fire, search, and rescue, and law enforcement officers, joined in over the past several days to find Raul.
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
We're in North Carolina search and rescue workers, along with the FBI, are searching for a 4 year-old boy who vanished. http://abcn.ws/2FoDHNH
Posted by ABC News on Saturday, January 27, 2018
[Feature Photo: Raul Johnson/Family Handout]