INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities in Indianapolis have located the body of a 5-year-old boy who went missing Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Khyang, 5, had been last seen around 1 p.m. Saturday roughly three blocks north of Perry Meridian High School — near South Meridian Street and West Stop 11 Road, according to a tweet from Indianapolis Fire Department.
Authorities confirmed Saturday around 7:20 p.m. that they had found the boy’s body in a retention pond close to the family’s home.
Andrew was described as nonverbal and severely autistic, three feet four inches tall and 42 pounds, with black hair, and last seen wearing a white, long-sleeve hooded shirt with gray stripes, blue jeans with a diaper underneath and no shoes.
Andrew also loved water and playgrounds, according to IFD.
First responders from Indianapolis Fire Department and area agencies began searching retention ponds and open ground for Andrew at roughly 1:30 p.m.
There was a massive response immediately from first responders.
“We’ve had helicopters in the air, we’ve used drones we’ve used sonar, we’ve used foot patrol, car patrol,” said Battalion Chief Rita Reith of IFD.
Neighbors helped out, too.
“I thought of my little nephew who is autistic and I thought boy if it were him,” said Becky Collins, who lives down the street.
They checked ponds nearby, one after another. They combed the neighborhood for a boy with a big heart and knack for curiosity.
“I did talk to his mother. She said he loves to go into houses if there’s a door left open. He loves small spaces so any corners in your house,” said Brian Cherry, who specializes in work with children with autism. He added that the mother told him Andrew loved water and playgrounds.
It was a K9 dog that had a faint hit for Andrew at a retention pond across the street from his home.
Divers searched for a couple hours when those hopes evaporated. He was found in the pond just after 7 p.m., crushing a family and shocking a tight-knit Burmese community.
“It’s really sad,” said Joshua Hlawnmua, a family friend of Andrew’s family.
While the family too distraught to speak with us, we did learn about Andrew through Hlawnmua.
“All I can say is he was a really nice boy and he was provided very good care from his parents,” he said.
Battalion Chief Reith said a death investigation is underway but said this is a tragic accident.
She said it is believed Andrew unlocked a door that he used to be unable to reach.