The body of a young boy was found in a river in Oklahoma early on Wednesday, authorities said.
The recovery comes hours after the body of a young girl was pulled from the Verdigris River after an off-duty Wagoner County deputy made the discovery Tuesday night, the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) said in a statement.
Officials were unable to confirm if the bodies are those of two missing Tulsa toddlers, 3-year-old Miracle Lashay Crook and her younger brother, 2-year-old Tony Demone Crook, who have been missing since last Friday.
“At this point, all the signs [are indicating] these are the two children that we have been looking for for several days now,” an official with the TPD said in a news release. “Sadly, we did recover them [but] we didn’t rescue them.”
“The Medical Examiner has taken the victim into their jurisdiction and will make a positive identification as soon as possible,” the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) said in a statement.
The two toddlers were last seen on surveillance video, walking alone “hand in hand” down the embankment into the creek west of the apartment complex where they went missing, police said.
Police made attempts to ask the toddlers’ mother, 24-year-old Donisha Willis, about her missing children, police said. But the woman refused to give any information, saying the children “don’t even matter,” FOX23 reported.
The toddler’s aunt, who is also their guardian, alerted authorities Friday night after finding Willis passed out on the couch in her apartment with the children nowhere to be found, police said.
Willis was not forthcoming with investigators and was possibly high on drugs at the time of the arrest, police chief Wendell Franklin said in a statement, The Daily Mail reported.
She was arrested on May 22 and booked in the Tulsa County jail on suspicion of child neglect, assault, and battery on a police officer, according to the outlet.
Large Search Effort
Wagoner County deputy Matt Smith was off-duty and in the area fishing late on Tuesday when “he noticed something that looked like a body come through the gates” in the Verdigris River, he told ABC8.
“I followed it about 200 yards and then that’s when I determined that it did indeed look like a body,” Smith told the outlet.
The body of Miracle was found in Wagoner County, miles from where she was last seen on the surveillance video walking down the embankment into the creek in Tulsa, authorities said. Recent rainstorms have caused the creek to become swollen with fast-moving water, likely carrying the young girl all the way.
Multiple agencies from several counties helped in the search to locate the missing toddlers, officers searched in trash cans, cars, knocking at every door in the apartment complex, and stopping motorists to ask if anyone has seen Miracle and Tony.
“We are talking to every resident in the complex, knocking on every door, and chasing down every lead,” authorities said in their latest update on May 25.
“We understand that everyone wants to help with the search efforts, at this time we would ask that people let the emergency rescue personnel use our considerable resources to search the numerous miles of waterways that is extremely dangerous in many areas,” TPD officials said.
“Please be patient with us as we meticulously search this area,” officers added.
At the time the children were missing for several days, many worried residents asked authorities why this hasn’t been raised to an Amber Alert yet. Officials replied that this case has not risen to the level of an Amber Alert.
“We know there are a lot of questions about providing additional information about these missing children,” TPD officials said. “At this time, this does not rise to the level of an Amber Alert.”
“We are still gathering information and will update when it become available,” the department wrote on Facebook at the time, adding in an update on Sunday that a dive team was looking nearby ponds “surrounding the apartment complexes where these two children were last seen.”