LIVE OAK, Fla. -- A body found during the search for a missing 9-year-old autistic boy has been identified as Leo Walker, authorities said Sunday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement cancelled a missing child alert for Walker after an autopsy confirmed the boy's identity, FDLE told First Coast News.
Sunday night, more than 100 people gathered in a park in Live Oak to say goodbye to Leo. People lit candles, prayed, sang a song and released dozens of balloons into the night sky.
Several people spoke before the crowd. Live Oak Police Chief, Buddy Williams, told the crowd he is the father of a special needs child and urged awareness of special needs children. He spoke encouraging words to the crowd and asked for continued prayer for Leo's family.
Leo's Aunt, Laurie Brown, stood before the crowd and read aloud a prepared statement.
As she spoke about her nephew, she began to cry. She said "Though Leo couldn't talk, he showed us every day that he loved us." Brown also thanked everyone involved in the search for him, she said from the bottom of her heart.
Live Oak Police said they found a body in a pond near the area where volunteers and law enforcement were searching for Walker.
The pond where the body of a child was recovered is located less than a half a mile from the missing boy's home. It is not the pond police began to pump on Thursday.
Chief Williams would not say who discovered the body around 10 a.m. Friday. The swamp like water is behind homes on Anna Avenue and has street access on McGee street. Neighbors say it's not safe.
"It holds a lot of water back there. They don't have a fence or nothing around it, they need to fence it in," said Eugene Ivey, a local resident.