MISSING: Family says little boy is dead after aunt claims he disappeared in middle of night [Reports]

A 18-month-old Texas toddler who was the centerpiece of a nationwide AMBER Alert is still missing, but according to his aunt, the little boy is dead.

ABC 8 reports that toddler Cedric “C.J.” Jackson Jr.’s aunt claimed the little boy passed away, although law enforcement has yet to officially confirm and his body has not been found. On Thursday morning, however, a spokesperson with the Dallas Police Department confirmed that they believe the child is likely dead.

“He’s dead. He’s gone,” aunt Crystal Jackson said. “We don’t know 100 percent of what happened…..but we all loved that baby. He was just the sweetest baby.”

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On Thursday morning, police were spotted searching a landfill in Rowlett, according to Dallas News.

Jackson said she woke up early Wednesday morning and C.J. was no longer with her in her Lake Highlands condominium. The young boy apparently lived with Jackson after Texas Child Protective Services placed him in her care.

“It’s so crazy. I woke up and all I can remember is he wasn’t there. The first thing I did was start looking. He’s not going to get up and walk off on his own. He can’t even walk off curbs,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she put C.J. to bed at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night. Around seven hours later, she reportedly woke up and noticed the little boy had vanished. A little girl who also lived at Jackson’s home told police she saw a man that looked like a close family member take the baby, according to police. The girl hid when she saw the man and didn’t say anything until the next day.

According to the Dallas Police Department, the man has been identified as C.J.’s step-grandfather, 47-year-old Harold Johnson. Police questioned Johnson and arrested him on unrelated charges. The boy was not with Johnson, according to police.

“We still don’t know who has the child or who took the child,” Maj. Max Geron said. “We don’t know if that suspect is the person in custody in Keller or if we are looking for a separate suspect that has a similar description.”

C.J. was reported missing from the Twin Oaks Apartments, off of the 9700 block of Whitehurst Drive, on Wednesday at around 7 a.m. He’s described as a black male standing 30 inches tall, weighing around 20 pounds, with braided black hair. He was last seen wearing only a diaper.

The boy’s mother, Dishundra Thomas, said C.J. was living temporarily with his aunt, in a decision she didn’t agree with.

“We just want our son back,” Thomas said. “He’s not even 2 years old yet. I just want him back home with me.”

Anyone with information about the child’s is urged to contact police at 214-671-4268.

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[Feature Photo: C.J. Jackson/Handout]