Officers found the body of Titus Greyson Tackett covered inside the abandoned car off a highway, about a mile from his family’s house, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A cause of death has not been announced, and police have not said who owned the van.
Titus’ grandparents were baby-sitting him when he vanished from his home in Arcadia, a town of about 600 people about 90 miles south of St. Louis, his family said. He stepped outside of his home, wearing only a diaper, and somehow wandered away after midnight.
When Titus when missing, his mother, Amber Tackett, was visiting her ex-boyfriend, police said.
“They were apparently trying to patch things up,” Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley told reporters.
“After returning from town, one of the family members came in and noticed the door open and they began looking for the child.”
The sheriff’s department, highway patrol and FBI scoured for the boy through the morning hours, along with about 50 volunteers, until a civilian made the grim discovery in the van around 11 a.m.
“We had an unbelievable turnout of people that wanted to come and search,” Medley said.
“We very much appreciate that. It’s a tragedy that he wasn’t located earlier.”
Police have made no arrests and named no suspects. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday, but no information about it has been released. The Iron County Coroner did not immediately return requests for comment.