Sheriff: Death of 4-year-old Scotland County boy appears accidental

Search for Raul Johnson. Pic. WBTW WNCN

Search for Raul Johnson. Pic. WBTW WNCN

The search continues for a missing 4-year-old boy who vanished in Scotland County Wednesday.

The Amber Alert issued for Raul Gonzalez Johnson on Wednesday said the boy was last seen on Village Drive on Wednesday afternoon, walking toward Crestline Road in Laurinburg.

The FBI was waiting for a county medical examiner to confirm that the body is Raul and to determine a cause of death.

It was previously unclear if crews had already started draining the pond near the missing boy's home in Laurinburg.

The FBI announced a body was found about 3 p.m. Saturday, at the time a press briefing was to be held. "I want to thank our partners and the community for the tremendous outpouring of support", Kersey said. The FBI's Evidence Response Team is on scene collecting evidence.

Scotland County Sheriff Ralph Kersey said that about 200 people have been searching for Raul both on the ground and in the air, while a dive team has been dispatched to a nearby pond, WBTV reported Thursday.

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Law enforcement officers have blocked local roads to check IDs. Raul's mother, Annie Johnson, was at work.

The child was last seen wearing a tiger-striped shirt with tigers on it and white trousers with rocket ships. 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.

Kersey said that the search teams were transitioning from search and rescue to a more "investigative approach", according to News Observer.

Kersey said Thursday evening that crews were transitioning from search and rescue to an "investigative approach", adding that the SBI and Federal Bureau of Investigation were joining the search.

"It's not a very good feeling to know that a little boy from our neighborhood is missing", said Bowen.

Scotland County authorities have said Raul left his home while his grandfather was babysitting him.

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