CLEVELAND - The search for 3-year-old Emilliano Terry was suspended Monday night after the body of a young boy was found at a waste plant in Oakwood Village, Cleveland police said.
Cleveland police and the Cleveland Division of the FBI held a news conference just before 10 p.m. Monday about the boy, who disappeared from Kossuth Park at about 5 p.m. Sunday.
"We come here with heavy hearts, I'm sure you understand. Today, at approximately 4 o'clock, a body of a small child matching the description of Emilliano Terry was discovered at a waste treatment plant in Oakwood Village. At this time, we have suspended the search for Emilliano Terry, pending a ruling from the coroner's office tomorrow morning," said Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath.
"So, in other words, right now, currently, we are treating this as a homicide, rather than a missing person or abduction."
Cleveland police said officers spotted a Waste Management truck in the area of East 130th Street and Buckeye Road, and recorded the number of the truck. Officers then contacted Waste Management to have them set aside the trash from that truck and that's where the body was found intact.
The child's body was wrapped in four or five plastic bags, Cleveland police said. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office has an autopsy planned for Tuesday morning to decide time and manner of death.
His mother, 20-year-old Camilia Terry, told police she was pushing one of her three children on the swing when the 3-year-old vanished. Her 5-year-old told police he saw a car in the area, but Cleveland police said there was nothing to indicate Emilliano got into that car.
Camilia Terry called 911 and told dispatchers that she hadn't seen her son for 15 minutes. She cried and described Emilliano's cloths before hanging up.
"Some time during the day, of today, the statements of Miss Terry became very inconsistent and we decide that we would further investigate her involvement in this situation," Cleveland Police Cmdr. Deon McCauley said.
Camilia Terry is in the is in the custody of Cleveland police and it will be up to prosecutors to determine charges. Officers said she did not admit to any crime.
Her other two children are now with Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services. Cleveland police said they plan to search Camilia Terry's house again.
"On behalf of the Cleveland Division of Police, our condolences go out to all those who loved and cared for this child throughout his life, and to the community who came to care for him these last 24 hours," McGrath said in a blog post . "This is a tragic end for an innocent young life in our community. And we will not accept it."
Officers and police dogs searched the park, which is about a half mile from Shaker Square, and nearby Buckeye Road Sunday night. They also examined surveillance videos from businesses along Shaker Boulevard.
"We've checked the route they traveled from home to the park extensively," said McCauley earlier on Monday. "We've gone door-to-door, checked vacant homes, garages, Dumpsters. There have been no sightings of this boy."
Sunday night, the volunteer group Guardian Angels canvassed RTA stations, garages and abandoned homes for several hours in the area of East 116th Street to East 128th Street.
Cleveland police are still asking anyone with information to contact them at 216-623-5464.