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OKFUSKEE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – In a tragic outcome, law enforcement authorities confirmed that the body of 2-year-old Ares Muse was located less than a mile from his home Monday afternoon after a nearly 12-hour search for the missing toddler.

The news came late Monday, after an extensive, day-long search, involving 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.

“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.”

Investigators said Ares was last seen alive and well around 1:30 a.m. at a home in Okfuskee County when he crawled into bed with his parents.

When his father woke up at 6:30 a.m., he noticed that the boy was no longer in bed and could not find him in the house.

A Missing and Endangered Child Alert was later issued for 2-year-old Ares Muse by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Earlier officials released this information as an Ashanti Alert but it did not fit the criteria for that type of missing person.

In early interviews Monday, authorities confirmed that they were told the boy needed to disarm three different locks to get out of the house.

Family members told KFOR that the front door included a regular front door lock, a deadbolt, and a chain link guard, and that Aries had been able to unlock the door in the past.  

First responders were visibly emotional sharing the news of Ares’s death.

Jason Salsman holds back tears at press conference
Jason Salsman

“We need to be there in our hearts and minds for this family as they have some really tough days coming up,” said Salsman.

As of 10 p.m. Monday, law enforcement maintain that this is an ongoing investigation, and have said that it is not considered criminal, at this time.