KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas - Divers found the body of a missing 6-year-old boy in a pond early Monday morning.
Dalton Robison was reported missing from his home in Kaufman County on Sunday. His parents said they last saw him around 3:30 p.m. About two hours later, they discovered he was no longer inside their house.
Volunteers, firefighters, state and local authorities all fanned in the densely rural area around the little boy's house to search for him. A K-9 team also helped on the ground and helicopter helped in the air.
They discovered the worst around 2 a.m. Monday. Divers found Dalton's body in the pond not far from his home.
The sheriff's office said until more is known, the case is being investigated as a homicide.
"At this point, we're treating it as a crime scene. We'll do a crime scene on it and follow up everything. We'll wind up going to the ME's office to get a ruling there. But we'll treat it just like a crime scene and we'll follow up and make sure there's no foul play," said Sheriff Bryan Beavers.
Child Protective Services is investigating, but police do not believe foul play was involved.
Pastor Russell Rogers spent the much of Sunday evening with the Robison family comforting them as a massive search for six-year-old Dalton Roberts went on through the night.
Roger says the family had locked all the doors and everyone laid down to take a nap about 4 p.m. Sunday. About an hour later, they noticed the door was open and Dalton was gone. The family searched around the home for a little more than an hour before calling for help.
Rogers says the family always locked the doors in to keep Dalton from wandering off or go exploring, as the family called it, which he was prone to do. He was there to comfort the family after the boy's body was recovered in a nearby pond early Monday morning.
"I believe with all my heart that the family needs the world to know that they lost a precious little boy," Rogers said. "And despite his handicap, he was an excellent young man and a precious child."
Rogers says Dalton had just learned how to unlock doors.
"He had begun to say things like 'Mama, Dada.' He could get excited, and he'd put his little hands up and screech," Rogers said. "There was no doubt that that child was loved and cherished by this family."
There is a vigil planned Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church here in Terrell. The chaplain says the family appreciates all of the community support and the volunteers and first responders who searched for and found their boy.
Officials are awaiting a cause of death ruling from the Dallas County Medical Examiner.
According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning is the primary cause of death for children with autism ages 14 and younger. The association says in 2009, 2010 and 2011 that accidental drownings accounted for 91 percent of all the deaths of autistic children in the U.S. in that age group.