Body Found in Colorado Identified as Missing 3-Year-Old Special Needs Boy

The body of a toddler who was recovered from a Colorado river on July 3 has been positively identified as a special needs child who disappeared last month near an apartment complex in Eagle County, authorities said.

The Eagle County Coroner’s Office released a statement Wednesday saying that Sebastian Rodriguez Castro’s cause of death is “consistent with drowning” and the manner is accidental.

“I thank the community for being patient as we followed this Office’s process for confirming the identity of a recovered body,” County Coroner Kara Bettis said in the release. “We hope this announcement brings closure to the family and a measure of healing to our caring community.”

The coroner’s office said the identification of Castro “concludes the investigation” and no further statements will be issued regarding the missing child’s case.

The search for the toddler involved over 500 volunteers and first-responders from over 30 emergency service agencies who spent countless hours searching for him around Eagle River, which is located close to the apartment complex he went missing from on June 5.

Days of search attempts near surrounding areas were unsuccessful at the time, officials said. Castro was located last week just east of Dotsero—a town in western Eagle County. His body was recovered more than 10 miles downriver from the area he went missing, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) said.

Officials said they are “tremendously grateful” for the community, volunteers, and first-responders who have donated their time and resources to the search.

“Officials are asking that the family’s privacy be respected during this extremely difficult time,” the office wrote. “The family expressed their gratitude for the efforts to find Sebastian and the outpouring of community support.”

Extensive Search Efforts

Multiple agencies launched a massive search for the boy that involved ground searchers, helicopters, drone teams, trained search and rescue dog teams, water rescue teams, the FBI, and a 24-hour tip line for leads on Castro’s location.

“Land-based searches have been extensive, both in town and all surrounding areas,” ECSO officials said at the time.

Some parts of Eagle River that the Vail Mountain Rescue team searched had multiple spots where conditions were too dangerous, and the team had to wait until water levels subside.

“The search is slow and time consuming, as evidenced by these photos, which show the types of river hazards they have encountered over the past several days,” the ECSO wrote in a release.

On June 9, a second trained dog team was deployed near several locations around the river, the office added.