Autopsies scheduled for four-year-old boy and family friend found dead

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is helping two county agencies with a death investigation Tuesday.

Troop F, which covers mid-Missouri, tweeted the following Tuesday morning:

In a news release Tuesday morning, the Highway Patrol said the child was a four-year-old boy from Belle, reported missing Monday night. According to the release, he had last been seen with a 37-year-old male family friend Sunday morning.

Late Monday, search teams found the male's vehicle on Valentine Ford Road near Route A in Gasconade County. The male and child were found dead nearby.

An ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths is being conducted by investigators of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control, the Belle Police Department, Osage County Sheriff’s Department, and Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department.

Sgt. Scott White with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said family first reported the child missing Monday night. He said they did not issue an Amber Alert because there was no reason to believe the child faced an imminent threat at the time.
Joe Turnbough, Marshall of Belle Police Department said this is a tragedy for everyone.
Aileen White, owner of Grandma's Attic in Belle, said their town is safe and that incidents like this don't happen in their community.
"I've been sick to my stomach ever since. It's really upsetting me because I can't believe it happened," Aileen White said.
Their autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday at University Hospital in Columbia.
Troopers said the man and child's names will not be released until later in the investigation.

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