SAN DIEGO – The body of a missing 4-year-old boy was found in Mission Bay today, about 120 yards off the beach where he had last been seen, police said.
A San Diego police officer said that an earlier broadcast of a possible kidnap suspect was “a bad lead,” and that police now suspect Wesley Hilaire simply drowned during a family outing by the bay.
Officer Dan Lasher said police no longer believe a kidnap had occurred.
But it was not clear if action would be taken against the child’s family, who told officers the boy had possibly been abducted, triggering an Amber Alert across the southern part of California.
The remains were spotted about 15 hours after his tearful family described a strange man who reportedly took the child from a family gathering on eastern shore of Mission Bay Park in San Diego.
The child’s family had reported that he had last been at seen at 7:44 p.m. Saturday walking with an unfamiliar man.
A description of a man was broadcast by police, and an Amber Alert and active search was conducted from the border as far north as Orange and Riverside counties.
The child’s body wasn’t the only one found in San Diego waters Sunday. San Diego lifeguards also found the drowned body of a 77-year-old woman in the kelp beds off Point Loma, as they searched for Hilaire.
The community gathered Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil in memory of the young boy.