FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (CBS/AP) Nearly two weeks after 2-year-old Sylar Newton was reported missing near a central Arizona campground, Arizona authorities said Tuesday that they believe the case has come to a tragic end.
Skeletal remains were found at the bottom of a wash less than 2 miles from the Beaver Creek Campground, where the toddler was last seen July 24, Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.
Police believe someone tried to hide the remains and they ended up in the river bed after recent flash flooding.
"Somebody didn't want us to find him," sheriff's Capt. David Rhodes said.
No suspects have been named, but D'Evelyn said foul play is suspected. He released no further details besides saying that an autopsy was planned.
Sylar was staying at the campground near Rimrock with his custodial mother, Christina Priem, and her family when he was reported missing. Rimrock is about 40 miles south of Flagstaff.
The investigation took a grim turn last week when D'Evelyn said investigators didn't believe Sylar wandered off on his own, as Priem said, but was taken from the area and feared dead.
The remains were discovered by a distant relative of Sylar who lives in the area and had periodically been searching for the boy, Rhodes said.
Rhodes said that previous searches had been conducted in the general area where the remains were found but not the exact spot. He said the search had been conducted as if looking for a lost person, not a concealed body.
"We were confident that anywhere he could have wandered or walked away from the campsite legitimately, we had covered," Rhodes said.
Searchers previously walked up and down washes, and scoured a landfill, trash bins and other areas of the campsite for more than a week.
Authorities are looking into custodial issues involving Sylar, Priem and Sylar's biological mother, Charity Newton. Newton told reporters last week that she was pregnant with Sylar when she met Priem and was "messed up" and knew she couldn't care for her son.
She says she gave temporary custody to Priem in 2008, but when authorities visited Priem's home in January she told them that Newton had given her full custody nearly two years earlier. Authorities were unable to find a paper trail to confirm her claim.
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