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Missing child found dead in Sacramento killings

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Authorities found the 3-year-old son of fugitive Nikolay Soltys dead Tuesday, more than a day after police say Soltys killed his wife and four other relatives.

The body of Sergey Soltys was found in a cardboard box north of Sacramento, said Sgt. James Lewis, a Sheriff's Department spokesman.

"This is probably the most distressing of all, because there was a great deal of hope throughout the department that we were going to be able to find this child safe and sound," Lewis said. The cause of death was not known Tuesday evening, he said.

Soltys, a 27-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, is wanted in connection with the slayings of his pregnant wife; his aunt and uncle; two cousins, ages 9 and 10; and now his son. He went to his mother's house to pick the boy up about an hour after Monday's killings and has not been seen since then.

The missing child of Nikolay Soltys, sought in the deaths of five of his family members, was found dead north of Sacramento, California (August 21)

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Sacramento authorities say the suspect is a member of the victims' family of Ukrainian immigrants (August 20)

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Case puts spotlight on Ukrainian-American community  
Gallery: Sacramento killings rampage  
Map: Key locations in California slayings  
Anyone with information on Nikolay Soltys' whereabouts should call either (800) 222-7463 or (916) 443-4357  
Message board: Family violence  
Sgt. James Lewis says language barriers have hindered the investigation
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Inna Yaskinsky comments on the community's reaction
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Investigators searching Soltys' car Monday night found a note written in Russian on the back of a photograph of the boy and his mother, whose body was found Monday morning. The note described a field under a broadcast tower at the end of a road in Placer County, north of Sacramento.

Investigators searched the area late Monday and throughout Tuesday. They found the boy's body about 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT), Lewis said.

Law enforcement authorities Tuesday appealed to the public for help in finding Soltys. Sacramento County Sheriff Lou Blanas said the county Board of Supervisors had approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to Soltys' arrest and conviction.

"We really don't know where he is, so we can't exclude anything as a possibility," Lewis said.

Soltys has relatives in New York, North Carolina and in Seattle, Washington. Authorities said they have been told to be on the lookout for him.

"We want to find this individual," Blanas said at a news conference, where a Ukrainian church leader also spoke in Russian, appealing to members of his community for any information that could lead to Soltys' capture.

The suspect's 1995 silver Nissan Altima was found in a strip mall parking lot late Monday.

Monday's killings occurred at two sites, both suburbs of Sacramento. Soltys' wife -- who Lewis said was 22 or 23 and three months pregnant -- was found fatally stabbed in front of a neighbor's house in North Highlands. The suspect's elderly aunt and uncle were found dead shortly afterward in the upstairs of their home in Rancho Cordova, about five to 10 miles away.

A photo found by police in Soltys' car shows his wife holding their son as a baby. On the back of the photo was a description of the area where the boy's body could be found.  

A 10-year-old grandson of the elderly couple was found dead on the walkway outside the home, and another grandchild -- a 9-year-old girl -- was found stabbed in the street. She later died at a hospital. The children were cousins to each other and second cousins to the suspect.

The investigation, authorities said, has been stymied by language and cultural barriers. Some members of the large Ukrainian community are reluctant to talk to authorities because of their experience with police in their home country.

"So, we're hoping that the reward will actually build bridges between us and them," Lewis said, adding that the money could provide the "additional motivation" for people to come forward.

Fliers in Russian and English have also been distributed.

The body of Sergey Soltys was found in this remote location, north of Sacramento.  

Police said they have not established any motive for the killings, although they said they've learned that Soltys had a history of violence in his native country. Lewis said authorities were exploring all angles for a possible motive, including the use of drugs and alcohol, or mental problems.

"We still have not learned any additional information about the motive," he said.

"We have no idea what is causing these tragedies, what has caused Nikolay to get into such a fit of absolute rage or whatever it is that has caused what we have experienced."

Tatyana Kukharskaya, 9, left, and Dimitriy Kukarskiy, 10, were killed Monday.
Tatyana Kukharskaya, 9, left, and Dimitriy Kukarskiy, 10, were killed Monday.  

Soltys was unemployed and was to have enrolled in American River College on Monday. Lewis also said there might have been some family resentment over the fact that Soltys was unemployed. Authorities also said the suspect had abused a former wife in the Ukraine.

There have been several reported sightings of Soltys throughout the day, but none, so far, has panned out.

Authorities urged anyone with information to call their "tip" lines at 1-800-AA-CRIME or 916-874-5115.

Soltys has been in United States for four years, three spent in New York.

• Sacramento County Sheriff's Department

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