By Mike DeNardo, Alexandria Hoff, David Spunt
HADDON Twp., NJ (CBS) — Authorities confirm that a three-year-old boy who was reported missing in the Westmont section of Haddon Township, New Jersey has been found dead.
The boy was reported missing from his home in the 100 block of Cooper Street by a family member around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Authorities say the body of Brendan Link Creato was found along a wooded area on South Park Drive, which is a few blocks from the home, just before 9 a.m.
According to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, K-9 units tracked the scent of the child and led investigators to that location.
No word on whether foul play was involved, but Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Andy McNeil says an active investigation is underway.
Around 300 people showed up for a vigil to remember the little boy Tuesday night. Many in the crowd knew Brendan personally.
“He loved pirates. He loved cats and dogs and he was going to be the Hulk for Halloween. He had his costume ready. He was a joy,” family friend Donna Duca said.
Brendan’s grandfather David Creato told Eyewitness News, “I hope no parent or grandparent has to go through this. Brendan was the sunshine of our lives. He had a special character about him. We are devastated.”
Samantha Denoto, Brendan’s mother released this statement to Eyewitness News:
“We are heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful boy Brendan Creato. Along with the Creato family, who also lost a son and grandson, we are grieving and tremendously saddened.
We thank the community, which searched this morning for Brendan and gathered tonight in his memory. We appreciate your efforts and kind words.
We do not have any answers about what occurred.
We do not intend to make any further statements. We do not plan to speak to the media. We request that we be provided with privacy during this very difficult time.”
Officials say autopsy results are pending.
No arrests have been made at this time.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Michael Rhoads at (856) 225-8561 or Haddon Township Police Detective Don Quinn at (856) 833-6208.
Tips may also be emailed to email@example.com.