WASHINGTON COUNTY, INDIANA, Ind. — A vigil is planned this weekend for a young boy whose body was found in a suitcase in southern Indiana.
It will take place Sunday at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Salem and Pekin Park.
The boy was found dead off a rural road. Someone was hunting for mushrooms in a wooded area near Pekin in eastern Washington County on Saturday when they made a gruesome discovery. They found a unique suitcase with a little boy's body stuffed inside.
The man who found this suitcase in the woods along a road at the top of a hill has promised police not to talk about it until the boy is identified, but he told 13News he wants to build a memorial there.
"Tragic, but at least he was found and now feel like somebody needs to come forward and let him be heard," said Kim Warne.
Indiana State Police still hope someone will call the dedicated national hotline (888-437-6432) to help identify the boy. Investigators are waiting for someone to come forward with information.
The boy is described as Black, about five years old, standing four feet tall with a slender build and short haircut.
"My husband's been back there multiple times mushroom hunting, and my kids ride four-wheelers back there, so I can't even imagine something like that happening," said Warne, a pregnant mother who lives nearby with her two older children. "We're actually friends with the man who discovered the little boy, so he called my husband and my dad and actually just kind of asked for support because obviously that's a big traumatic thing that happened."
The road where the body was found dead ends nearby, situated high in the hills and deep in the woods. A state police sergeant who has lived in Washington County his whole life told 13News he didn't even know this road existed.
Police believe the boy died within the past week. An autopsy did not immediately reveal a cause of death. Results of toxicology tests are pending, but investigators say someone had to be taking care of the boy until very recently.
"It's very emotional, just because having a child involved," Warne said. "I don't understand - I'm getting emotional - how somebody could do that to a child, but obviously just leaving them there, too, because it makes me think about my kids."