The body of a 6-year-old Georgia boy who went missing while vacationing with his family in Florida was found on a beach, officials said Tuesday, a day after a wide-scale search on land, sea and air was launched in an effort to find him.
Enrique Cortez-Dubon was found in the area of Surf Drive in Panama City Beach, more than 1.5 miles east from where he was last seen on Monday, the city said in a tweet announcing the recovery of his body.
“We are saddened to report the body of 6-year-old Enrique Cortez-Dubon has been recovered between public beach accesses 21 and 22 on Surf Drive,” the post read. “This is approximately 1.5 miles east of where he was last seen more than 24 hours ago. Our condolences go to the family.”
Local reports said the child, who went by the nickname Richalo, was found on the sand. Fox News has reached out to the city but has not heard back.
The Panama City Beach Department did not release a cause of death but it was suggested Cortez-Dubon went into the water. He was last seen around 11:30 a.m. Monday on the beach behind Shores of Panama resort, where his family was vacationing from Atlanta.
Dozens of first responders were dispatched in an effort to find him.
Before the body was found, police said they were investigating both the possibility that he may have drowned or was abducted, although “the evidence leads us to believe he went missing in the water.” He was last seen in knee-high water and the family said he did not swim well.
Police searched for Cortez-Dubon using helicopters and drones and sent divers into the water.
Christina Majors of Tennessee told the Panama City News Herald that she saw Enrique playing in the sand with his family Monday morning behind Pineapple Willy’s restaurant.
“When we saw his picture, we knew exactly who it was,” she said. “I know we personally don’t know them, but it just breaks my heart. That’s every parent’s worst fear. I couldn’t imagine having to live that through.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.