UPDATE: Following the news conference, here are the latest details in the Jayden Morrison case.
As reported by WMBF, the body of missing 4-year-old Jayden Morrison was found in a pond Friday, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge confirmed. His body was found two days after rescue crews began the search.
The pond where police found the body is located behind a home off Vermillion Drive. Jayden’s family is at a home off Sultana Drive, and the pond sits in between the houses. The pond is located 10 homes down from where he was staying, and police say the 4-year-old was wearing the pajamas he went missing in.
During a news conference Friday, Horry County Lieutenant Raul Denis said it appears Jayden died due to drowning. Investigators said Jayden’s body was found while the water levels in the pond were lowered. A medic volunteer found the child’s body. Police said his body surfaced after coming across some type of mound underwater.
The 4-year-old boy was reported missing at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 24. Horry County Fire and Rescue, Horry County Police Department, North Myrtle Beach Fire, and Police, the American Red Cross, CUE Center for Missing Persons, and nearly 100 volunteers aided in the search.
Officials urged people to come to the search dressed appropriately for the weather. The search included wet, wooded areas. SCDOT officials brought in lights; children’s music filled the streets and areas of the search. Brunswick County officials brought in a helicopter, and SLED divers scoured bodies of water close by for Jayden.
The focus of the search remained within a five- to 10-mile radius of Jayden’s last known whereabouts.
As reported by the NBC New York, his family had been visiting South Carolina. The family traveled to the grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve from New York for the holidays, and had only arrived Wednesday morning — hours before he apparently walked out the front door. Jayden was under the watch of his grandmother on Wednesday night, when it is believed he left the home. His mother, Tabatha Morrison, was at Walmart running an errand when Jayden disappeared.
Jayden Morrison’s autism rendered him non-communicative, and his family was concerned that he would not be able to find his way home because he was not familiar with his grandmother’s neighborhood.
An autopsy has been scheduled Friday at a nearby hospital, said Coroner Robert Edge.
Elopement and wandering is common among young children with autism. Learn more about how you can help by visiting autismspeaks.org.
The original report regarding the tragic discovery of Jayden Morrison can be found here.