The body of a missing Massachusetts boy was found on an island in Boston Harbor on Monday.
Mohemed Fofana, 4, from South Boston, disappeared on Castle Island the evening of Mother’s Day. His body was found the next day, just over a mile away along the shore of Spectacle Island, directly across the channel from Castle Island, at 12:29 p.m. Monday, Massachusetts State Police said.
“With much sadness,” Massachusetts State Police announced the heartbreaking discovery Monday, adding that its “detective unit for Suffolk County will conduct the follow up death investigation.”
“We express our deepest condolences to his family,” state police wrote.
The boy, a pre-kindergarten student at the Joseph Lee School in Dorchester, had come to a park on Castle Island shortly after 7 p.m. with his older sister and their grandfather, Soleymane Fofana. The grandfather told WCVB that he was on a phone call while the children were playing.
“I shut the phone off, and I said let me take Mohamed and his sister to the house, I call his sister to come, I said ‘where’s your brother?’” Soleymane Fofana said.
The grandfather reportedly dialed 911 at 7:30 p.m. Family told WCVB that the boy had autism and was not able to communicate.
His mother pleaded to the outlet Sunday night for anyone who might have seen him to please help find “my little baby.”
Search operations continued Monday morning, when state police reminded the public the boy was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and blue footwear.
Investigators reviewed Department of Conservation and Recreation surveillance footage showing the boy leaving the playground “not accompanied by his adult relative at that point, and then he goes off-screen, and you don’t see him again in the footage,” state police spokesperson David Procopio told WCVB.
Massachusetts State Police, along with the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts Environmental Police, the Boston Fire Department, and Boston Emergency Medical Services, began searching for the missing child on Castle Island and the surrounding ocean Sunday. Patrols, MSP Marine Unit, Dive Team, and Air Wing were on scene Sunday, state police said.
Marine units and dive teams from multiple agencies scoured the section of ocean known as the Western Way, which links Dorchester Bay to the south and the Boston Main Channel to the north, according to WCVB. A dive team carried out an underwater line search stretching across the entire length of the Castle Island seawall out to a distance of 150 yards offshore.
Aerial searches conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing and the Coast Guard stretched along the Boston coastline, as far south as Hull and as far north as Deer Island.
“Our community is in mourning following the tragic news that Mohamed Fofana, a pre-K student of the Lee K-8 School community, has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and school community during this difficult time,” Boston Public Schools said in a statement on Monday.
On Sunday, the district said, “We are deeply concerned to hear of the disappearance of one of our students, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the entire school community during this difficult time. We want to assure our students, staff, and families that we are here to support them.”