PHOENIX - Authorities say human remains found two weeks ago in Buckeye are that of 10-year-old Jesse Wilson, who has been missing since 2016.
The boy disappeared from his home in the early morning of July 18, 2016, in a neighborhood in Buckeye, located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Phoenix.
Police treated it as a runaway case because the boy's adoptive mother told investigators that he suffered from "learning and developmental issues" and was taking medication for it. She said he had slipped out of his second-floor bedroom window overnight in the past.
The FBI, Buckeye police and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office personnel searched for the boy for weeks following his disappearance. Drones, U.S. Border Patrol tracking dogs and citizen volunteers also searched.
Police said partial human skeletal remains were found March 8 about six miles from the boy's home and a subsequent search of the area uncovered additional remains. Buckeye Police Detective Tamela Skaggs said the area where the remains were found was searched in the summer of 2016, but the area was covered by water at the time.
The remains were submitted for forensic analysis and positively identified as Jesse Wilson, police said.
Buckeye Police officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon on the discovery of Wilson's remains, where officials say it's the worst outcome that they can possible have.
Det. Skaggs wouldn't say Tuesday if police have evidence of foul play in the death of Jesse Wilson, or if there any suspects. She did say, however, the probe will continue as a homicide investigation.
Officials also say this is not the end of the murder investigation, and believe the case will eventually be resolved.
Meanwhile, neighbors are reacting to the news.
"I was shocked because my husband and I discussed the bones the other day, and I was like, 'there's no way that that's him, because it's been so long,'" said Jessica Smith, who lives in the area. "You would think with all of the searches that they did, how did that get missed?"
Buckeye Police officials say they are still accepting tips on the case, and are asking people with information to call or e-mail Buckeye Police.
Buckeye Police News Conference
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