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Body of 7-year-old boy found a week after he went missing from home in Alaska

Sawyer Cipolla (Courtesy photo)

Tanasia Kenney

The Charlotte Observer

The sweeping search for a 7-year-old boy who disappeared from his Alaska home more than a week ago came to a tragic end over the weekend, according to state authorities.

The body of Sawyer Cipolla was found Sunday, May 15, around 12:30 p.m. near Pillar Mountain in Kodiak, Alaska State Troopers said in a news release.

There were no signs of foul play at the scene.

Two people were surveying birds in the area when they spotted the boy’s body, State Troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel told the Anchorage Daily News. His remains were found about 3 and half miles from his family’s home on Forest Drive, where he was last seen May 7.

Relatives said Sawyer was on the autism spectrum and usually responded to “come on in,” according to state troopers.

His disappearance prompted an extensive search involving more than 2,000 volunteers working with search and rescue crews as they scoured the thickly wooded area, Alaska Public Media reported. Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy SEALs and several other agencies also aided in the weeklong search, state troopers said.

Searchers pored over about 10,000 acres of land by foot, car and horseback in hopes of finding the missing boy, The Kodak Daily Mirror reported, citing AST Statewide Search and Rescue Coordinator Lt. Paul Fussey.

“I’ve never seen a more thorough and complete search for a missing person in my career,” Fussey said at a news conference on May 14, according to the newspaper.

Sawyer’s body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy as police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.

Kodiak is about 400 miles southwest of Anchorage.

©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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