Authorities in Mesa located the body of an 11-year-old boy with special needs who has been missing from the area of Ray and Power roads since Saturday morning.
Mesa police spokesman Lt. Wessing said the boy – Caruel J. Udal, also known as C.J., who has Down syndrome – was last seen just before 9 a.m. as he went to walk his dog near the Arizona Canal in the area south of the SanTan freeway along Power Road.
Family members said that they heard their dog barking loudly at around 9 a.m. from the area of the canal just behind their residential property.
Wessing said the boy’s dog was found in the canal, but there was no sign of the child.
A search effort by officers from Mesa, Gilbert and the sheriff’s office was conducted.
Shortly after 1 p.m. a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office dive team located Udal’s body in the canal close to where his dog was found.
Police said it appears that Udal and his dog were able to access the canal through an opening in the fencing surrounding their property.
The family sent CBS 5 News the following statement late Saturday afternoon.
“We are heartbroken at the loss of our most amazing and talented son, C.J. Udall. His life ended too abruptly but we know that he has returned to his Heavenly Father and is with his grandpa and namesake Carvel Jackson.
“We ask those moved with compassion at our loss to consider making a donation to a fund that has been set up to honor the memory of C.J. The fund will benefit the organizations that our son loved and that profoundly touched his life.
“Donations may be made to the C.J. Udall Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank Branch.”