DETROIT (AP) — Police investigating the disappearance of a 13-year-old Detroit boy found his body Thursday in an empty lot on the city’s east side and announced the arrest of a key suspect in Ohio.
Deontae Mitchell’s mother, Crystal Mitchell, identified her son’s body, and an autopsy is planned for Friday morning, according to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig offered his “heart and prayers” to the boy’s family and called it a “horrific crime.”
“We’re talking about a defenseless child. An adult male with a gun,” Craig said at a news conference earlier Thursday. “Once again, another coward preying on children, and that needs to stop.”
Deontae disappeared Tuesday night while riding bikes with a cousin, who told police that Deontae had picked up money dropped by a man who was urinating outside a market.
Video shows Deontae being pursued by a man who grabbed the boy by his arm and forced him into a car.
Police believe that man was Gregory Walker, 45, of Detroit, who was arrested Thursday with a woman in Toledo, Ohio. Walker hasn’t been charged.
But Craig noted that two more men were wanted by police in what he called “very much an active investigation.” One of them, a 30-year-old from Detroit, was arrested Thursday in his home; he was not immediately charged. A 51-year-old man still is being sought.
Detroit police were preparing information to present to prosecutors for murder charges, said Sgt. Michael Woody, who added that Walker may have to be extradited to Michigan from Ohio.
Late Thursday morning, police combed through knee- to waist-high weeds and grass in an empty lot behind a vacant one-story building that once housed a men’s clothing shop and a tax service.
About three dozen people gathered nearby, some praying for the boy’s family, the neighborhood and the city.
Madgrine Jones, 35, cried, saying “the spirit led me here.” A security guard at a cemetery, Jones didn’t know the victim and is not acquainted with his family, but has children of her own.
“It hurts. It hurts,” she told The Associated Press, tears streaming down her face. “Why can’t we go back to when people spoke up? We got babies being killed. It’s just too much. I pray for the family. I pray for the city. I pray for our kids.”