SOUTH BOSTON, Mass — The intensive search on and around Castle Island for a missing 4-year-old boy from South Boston ended Monday afternoon after his body was recovered on the shore of Spectacle Island, authorities said.
A search crew using binoculars spotted the body of Mohamed Fofana on the beach directly across the water from Castle Island just before 12:30 p.m., as the tide was receding, according to Massachusetts State Police.
“We wished for a much different outcome,” said Dave Procopio, state police spokesperson.
Mohamed was first reported missing Sunday night after a family member lost sight of the boy while he was playing at a park on the South Boston coastline around 7 p.m.
Surveillance video showed Mohamed leaving a Castle Island playground and heading in the direction of the water, state police told Boston 25. His shoe was also found in the water off Castle Island on Sunday night.
Mohamed’s mother told Boston 25 Sunday night that he was autistic and non-verbal.
His family remained on scene into the night and again Monday morning as an all-out search resumed.
Police notified his family was notified as soon as they confirmed it was the boy.
Mohamed attended the Lee school in Dorchester, his sister the Dever School in Southie.
Mohamed’s mother said her son was with his grandfather and sister when he disappeared. She also said her son was nonverbal.
“Please help me. If someone has Mohamed, I need Mohamed. Please help me,” the boy’s mother said in an emotional plea.
Mohamed’s grandfather said the park was crowded while they were playing and that they were unfamiliar with the area.
MSP and other agencies scoured the area by land, sea, and air until just before 1:00 a.m. Monday morning. The search resumed several hours later as officials shut down portions of Castle Island to sweep the area with K9 dogs.
Boats and divers were also searching a section of ocean known as the Western Way, which connects Dorchester Bay to the south and the Boston Main Channel to the north.
State police say three boats used side-scan sonar to obtain images of the ocean floor. Divers searched along the Castle Island seawall out to 150 years offshore.
In a statement, Boston Public Schools confirmed that Mohamed was a student in their system.
“Our community is in mourning following the tragic news that Mohamed Fofana, a pre-K student of the Lee K-8 School community, has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and school community during this difficult time,” BPS said.
Mohamed’s body will be turned over to the custody of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The family was notified as soon as police confirmed it was the boy. The mother and grandfather were seen getting into a Boston police car after they were notified. Boston city councilor Erin Murphy spent time with the family and was there when the family got word. “I don’t know what you give a mom whose son is lost,” said Murphy.
State police detectives assigned to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office are leading an investigation into Mohamed’s death.
And searchers who helped look for Mohamed also offered condolences to a grieving family.
“There’s not one Trooper, officer firefighter, EMT involved who did not want a better and happier outcome,” said Procopio.
Exactly what lead up to this tragedy remains under investigation by police as the medical examiner conducts a death investigation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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