Child’s body recovered in Walnut River

LEON — The search for a missing Leon girl appears to be over after officials discovered a body matching the description of a missing 20-month old on Saturday morning.

Early Saturday, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, County EMS, County Rescue Squad, Augusta Fire and Leon Fire Department met to conduct another search for the missing child who hadn’t been seen since March 11 when a vehicle crashed into Walnut River in Leon.

Teams used a cadaver dog and others searching on foot and ATVs. At about 10:08 a.m., members of the Leon Fire Department located what appeared to be the remains of a 20-month old female approximately 3,700 feet down river from where the vehicle crashed.

Detectives with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office recovered the remains and they were transported to the Regional Forensic Science Center in Wichita for an autopsy.

The child went missing on March 11 when the Leon Police Department stopped a vehicle after doing a check on a man who had purchased alcohol with a child in the car.

“He was being peaceful and communicating and talking to him. The child was fine at the time and when they told him that they were gonna have to take the child,” Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.

The driver panicked, started his truck and drove into the river.

The man was discovered inside his truck and pulled from the river, but the girl was not located until early Saturday.