Six days after an autistic three-year-old boy was reported missing from his Ohio home, police recovered his body in the pool of the apartment complex where his family live.
The Toledo Police Department announced on Wednesday that Braylen Noble was found at the Hunter’s Ridge Apartments swimming pool on Gibraltar Heights Drive, which had been searched multiple times by numerous law enforcement officials since the toddler’s disappearance on Friday.
‘It’s common practice in police investigations, once an area is searched, if nothing found, to go back and revisit that search area and see if anything was missed,’ said Toledo police Lt. Kellie Lenhardt, according to 13abc. ‘But we do want to reiterate that the area was searched numerous times by Toledo Fire and Rescue, the FBI, private search groups, and both live and cadaver dogs.’
Tragic: Braylen Noble is a three-year-old non-verbal autistic boy who vanished from his family’s apartment in Toledo, Ohio, on Friday afternoon. His body was recovered from the pool at his family’s apartment complex on Wednesday
It is unclear whether police were acting on a fresh tip when they returned to the pool area on Wednesday, cordoned it off with yellow crime tape and draped the fence around the pool with tarps to obscure the water from view.
Braylen was reported missing on Friday afternoon by his grandmother, who told an emergency dispatcher on a 911 call that the child possibly fell or jumped out of a third-floor window.
Braylen’s mother, Dajnae Cox, and his grandmother were observed being led away by police officers from the scene on Wednesday, reported WTOL11. The women were not in handcuffs, and so far no arrests or charges have been announced.
An autopsy will be performed on Braylen by the Lucas County coroner later today to determine the cause and manner of death.
More than 100 people gathered outside the pool on Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil, leaving scores of stuffed animals, balloons and flowers in honor of the deceased child.
‘I wanted to support him, I wanted to show my condolences for him,’ vigil attendee Marcinni Leal said.
On Monday, dozens of volunteers spent hours scouring a three-mile radius around the Hunter’s Ridge apartment complex and handing out fliers about the missing person case.
The volunteers had been gathering at a white gazebo located just feet away from the pool.
Volunteers are seen on Monday searching for Braylen around his family’s apartment complex on Gibraltar Heights Drive, just steps away from the pool
Braylen’s mother took part in the search effort and tearfully appealed to whoever might have her son to return him to her.
‘If you want to just drop him off somewhere, please drop him off to the police station, you can drop him off here. Call my phone,’ Cox told NBC24 through sobs. ‘I know he’s crying, I know you can’t get him to stop crying. He’s being picky, he’s not eating and even if he’s scared I won’t be mad. Please just drop him off to me. I just want him home. That’s it.’
Braylen was reported missing at around 12.30pm on Friday, about half-an-hour after his mother said her son either jumped or fell our of a third-floor window in the family’s apartment in the 3400 block of Gibraltar Heights.
In an interview with WTOL11, Cox clarified that she did not witness her son’s fall but assumed it had happened because the screen in the window was pushed out.
Braylen’s mother, Dajnae Cox, begged for her son’s safe return. She asked whoever might have her child to just drop him off at a police station
She said Braylen could not have snuck out the front door of the apartment because both her and the boy’s grandmother were home at the time.
When Cox went downstairs to get her son, he was nowhere to be found.
As a newly released 911 call reporting Braylen’s disappearance indicates, the adults in the family spent about 30 minutes searching the apartment complex and the surrounding area for the child before contacting the authorities.
‘I’m hoping he’s OK, but we don’t know where he’s at,’ the caller, Brayklen’s grandmother named Bobbie, tells the dispatcher on the call. ‘We walked the whole grounds.’
Officers conducted a search for the missing non-verbal boy using drones, K-9 units and dive teams, which scoured Swan Creek that runs behind the apartment complex, but to no avail.
Police also searched the pool downstairs on Friday evening but failed to find anything.
Cox has been interviewed by police but not arrested, despite rumors to the contrary on social media.
Toledo police Lt. Dan Gerken has described Braylen’s family as being absolutely cooperative.
On Sunday, as emergency crews continued searching for the missing child, Braylen’s grandparents organized a prayer vigil and pleaded for his safe return.
His mother believes that Braylen either fell or jumped from his third-floor window. When she went downstairs to get him, he was nowhere to be found
‘It’s been stressful. I’m emotionally drained. I’m physically drained but I keep on pushing on,’ Jessie Holloway, Braylen’s grandmother, told 13ABC.
On Monday, the search for Braylen expanded into neighboring Michigan, where the FBI was said to be checking a trash storage facility.
Braylen was last seen wearing pull-up diapers and a red and white Mickey Mouse shirt.