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Indiana authorities create national tip line to help identify deceased young boy found in Washington County

Police say the body of the young African American boy, believed to be between 5 to 8-years-old, was found in a wooded area in a rural part of county on Saturday.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, INDIANA, Ind. — Indiana State Police are asking for the public's help after an unidentified child's body was found in the woods.

“Somebody out there knows who this child is," said ISP Sgt. Carey Huls.

The child is described as a Black male between 5 and 8 years old, about four feet tall with a slim build and short haircut.

His body was found in a wooded area off the roadway around 7:30 p.m. on April 16 by a resident who was mushroom hunting. Police suspect the child may have been dead for a week. His cause of death will be released once the autopsy is complete.

"Nothing's matched up at this point. So we are looking for the public's help in finding out the name of this child, this little boy who deserves answers, he deserves our help," Huls said.

Huls announced Monday the department has set up a dedicated tip line for people to submit information on the case. That number is 1-888-437-6432 and it can be used from anywhere in the United States.

People are urged to not contact Indiana State Police through their social media channels since those are not monitored at all times.

Since announcing the investigation Sunday, Huls said they've received many tips. He said some were about a missing boy from Virginia, and he does not believe that case matches this one. 

Huls said at first ISP believed the boy was local. Because they have not found any matching missing persons reports from the area and because no one has stepped forward, it could possibly be an out of state case. 

At this point, ISP is still treating the case as a death investigation.

Huls anticipates learning more about the boy's cause of death after the autopsy is conducted. That autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow at the Washington County Coroner's Office. 

Those who live in the small town about 45 minutes northwest of Louisville Metro were surprised to hear the news Monday. 

“They’re just wanting to know who the little boy was and who would do something like that," Julie Kirby said. "Nobody understands how somebody could be that mean.”

"We've had our problems over the years but nothing like this," Robert Frost, a Salem resident said. "It makes you think where's the parents? Wouldn't you miss your kid, where's my child at. At dark we had to be in." 

Huls said investigators are not releasing information relating to the child’s clothing or the specific area where the body was located. However, police will canvass the area and check to see if anyone has any video footage that could possibly help them in their investigation.

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