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Remains found in Arizona are those of 'small child,' authorities say

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Remains are presumed to be those of missing 2-year-old Sylar Newton
  • DNA test results could take several days
  • Remains were found Tuesday by distant relative of Sylar
  • The area is being treated as an "active crime scene"

(CNN) -- Authorities in Yavapai County, Arizona, said Wednesday that remains found a day earlier in the area are those of "a small child," and they are acting on the assumption that the body belongs to Sylar Newton, a 2-year-old boy missing for more than two weeks.

A DNA test will be performed to confirm the identity of the remains, a process that could take several days, Yavapai County Sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn told HLN.

Meanwhile, investigators continued to comb the area where the remains were found Tuesday by a distant relative of the boy. The relative had been searching in the area since his disappearance.

"It was pretty heartbreaking," Donnie Newton told HLN's "Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell" of his discovery. "I've been looking ever since the day after he disappeared. I've walked many, many miles out there."

The remains were found at the bottom of a wash less than two miles from where Sylar was reported missing from a campground. The sheriff's office said the remains "likely came to rest in this area due to recent flash flooding."

D'Evelyn described the site as an "active crime scene" and said it was unclear where the remains were originally located.

Authorities said last week that they do not believe Sylar wandered from the Beaver Creek Campgrounds on his own and announced the case had turned into a criminal investigation.

"Sylar's disappearance most likely was not an accident," Capt. David Rhodes told CNN affiliate KTVK on Tuesday, declining to elaborate.

Sylar was last seen shortly after midnight July 24, sleeping in a tent with his custodial mother, Christina Priem, at the campgrounds. About 1:45 a.m. July 25, Priem noticed he was missing from his sleeping bag.

Priem has said she was in the process of adopting the boy from his biological mother.

D'Evelyn told HLN that authorities are in contact with Priem, as well as Sylar's biological mother, Charity Newton.

He said the custody deal between the two women "didn't appear to be a legal adoption, but some informal arrangement."

No suspects have been named in the boy's disappearance and presumed death.

"I want to stress the investigation may take some time, and we want to do it right," D'Evelyn said.

HLN's Natisha Lance contributed to this report.