Body in Canal Might be Missing 8-Year-Old Boy

(AP Photo/Boise Police Department)
Family photo of Robert Manwill made available by the Boise Police Department.

BOISE, Idaho (CBS/AP) The search might be over for 8-year-old Robert Manwill, who went missing almost two weeks ago and whose disappearance set off a massive 2,300-person manhunt.

Police have tentatively identified a body found floating in a canal as Manwill. And they say the gruesome discovery has launched an "entirely new investigation."

Deputy Chief Jim Kerns said Tuesday police were waiting for a positive identification from the Ada County coroner.

Robert Manwill reportedly disappeared July 24 after leaving his mother's apartment in Boise, where he was visiting. Deputy Chief Jim Kerns has said evidence in the case indicated the boy could be hurt "or the victim of a tragic event."

Last week police searched Manwill's mother's apartment, where the boy was visiting.

Then Friday and Saturday, investigators searched a southwest Boise home. They began digging in the backyard after dogs picked up a scent, said Evan Wallis, who owns the house.

It's not yet clear if police found any evidence in the Boise home that's tied to the case.

The body found in the canal was called in by a passerby who reported a body in the canal near Kuna about 1:30 p.m Monday.

The night he disappeared, the boy was visiting his mother, Melissa Scott Jenkins. The boy's father, Charles Manwill, has had custody of him since 2008.

Jenkins pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor charge of injury to a child following an October 2008 incident that fractured her infant son's skull. The child is the son of Jenkins' boyfriend, Daniel Edward Ehrlick.

Jenkins was sentenced to 29 days of work release, fined $75.50 and put on probation for two years, according to court documents.

Ehrlick's father, Daniel Ehrlick Sr., said he last saw the 8-year-old Manwill the day he went missing. He said he had dropped some money off at his son and Jenkins' apartment to help them pay their bills.

Ehrlick Sr. said he used to pick Manwill up in New Plymouth, where the boy's father lives, and bring him to Boise to visit. After the boy went missing, Ehrlick Sr. said his son accused him of taking the child and police questioned him.

"I haven't talked to him since he accused me," Ehrlick Sr. said.