OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office says the 2-year-old boy whose body was found less than a mile from his Okfuskee County home after a nearly 12-hour search in 2022, died as a result of an accidental drowning.
Ares Muse was last seen alive at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 12.
By the time his father woke up at 6:30 a.m., he was nowhere to be found.
Search and rescue teams for at least 20 agencies around the state – including the Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Creek Nation, DOC blood hounds, Tribal K9s, Okfuskee County Emergency Management, Seminole County Emergency Management, Okmulgee County Emergency Management, District 22 DA office, FBI, and OHP troopers – performed grid searches for the toddler all day.
Unfortunately, authorities found his body less than a mile from his home, still dressed in his black footie pajamas with orange and green dinosaurs.
“We talked all day long about a good outcome and we didn’t get that,” said Jason Salsman, Muscogee (Creek) Nation spokesman. “I have the unfortunate responsibility to let everyone know that we did find the boy; unfortunately, we found him deceased.”
Now, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office has released its findings on Ares’ death.
According to the report, Ares died from drowning and his death has been ruled an accident.
How the child was able to escape his home remains unclear. At the time of his disappearance, family members told KFOR that the front door included a regular front door lock, a deadbolt, and a chain link guard, and that Ares had been able to unlock the door in the past.
Officials did not initiate a criminal investigation.