BROWARD COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) — A Tampa toddler who was reported missing in Broward County over the weekend has been found dead.
18-month-old Vihaan Pullamsetti disappeared while staying with relatives in Weston. His family members noticed he was missing at about 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, which is his usual nap time.
On Monday morning, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said that the toddler’s body was discovered in a Weston canal.
“Our worst fears were realized,” said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel during a news conference on Monday morning. Israel asked the media to respect the grieving family’s privacy during this difficult time.
A family friend spoke on the family’s behalf at the news conference.
“Very loving child, very active child,” said the family friend. “I don’t have any words to explain.”
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies say the toddler’s family searched for him for about 20 minutes before calling 911.
“The family began frantically looking for their son. They got others involved, and when they couldn’t locate him after 20 minutes, they called 911,” Sheriff Scott said on Sunday night.
A Florida Missing Child Alert was issued for Pullamsetti on Sunday.
Broward sheriff’s deputies searched for the toddler with bloodhounds, aviation, and marine units. Residents helped with the search.
“I have no idea who they are. Never met them, never seen them. I just felt as a mother; I felt I could help,” said Paola Mora, who helped search for the missing boy.
The boy’s mother told NBC Miami that he was learning how to open and close doors on his own.