The body of a teenager was found near the hometown of a missing 11-year-old Montezuma boy, an official with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed late Thursday.
The body clothing was consistent with what Xavior Harrelson was wearing when he was last seen on May 27Said Mitch Mortvedt, deputy director of the DCI, at a press conference shortly after the discovery of the remains. Gender was not confirmed.
Confirming the identity of the body could take eight weeks or more, Mortvedt said. However, officials notified Xavior’s family of the discovery.
“We still don’t know much,” Mortvedt said. “We can make assumptions, but that is always dangerous.”
The discovery sparked a heavy police presence near the city of about 1,500 people in Poweshiek County. A farmer tending his bean crop near 110th Street and Ewart Road, about 4 miles from Xavior’s home, found the body in a nearby field, authorities said.
Xavior was reported to have disappeared within days of his 11th birthday. The boy was last seen near his home in the northwest part of town, dressed in a red T-shirt, blue pajama bottoms and black high-top shoes.
In the following four months, the community has raised more than $ 35,000 through vigils, fundraisers, and a benefit concert in hopes of attracting anyone with information to come forward.
Orange ribbons, Xavior’s favorite color, are wrapped around lamp posts and trees and displayed in homes and businesses throughout the community.
As of last month, investigators said they had found no evidence of foul play in her disappearance, but they hadn’t ruled anything out.
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The place where the body was found, on a dirt road, surrounded by cornfields, other crops and huge wind turbines, evoked the stark memories of Mollie Tibbetts. a 20-year-old college student killed in 2018. She was reported missing after a run near her hometown of Brooklyn, also in Poweshiek County and 15 miles from Montezuma. His body was found in a cornfield.
“It’s horrible in any community,” Mortvedt said. “But again, hot on the heels of Mollie Tibbetts …” he continued, before trailing off.
“The lives of two beautiful people ended terribly, tragically,” said Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas E. Kriegel.
Organizers of the fourth annual Mollie Tibbetts Memorial Race, held on Sunday, dedicated half of his donations to the Find Xavior Harrelson Fund.
Police are asking anyone with information about Xavior’s disappearance to contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 623-5679 or the Missing Persons Information Center at 1-800-346- 5507. And anyone who may have digital information about Xavior’s disappearance can send suggestions, such as videos or images, to fbi.gov/findxavior.
Andrea Sahouri covers social justice for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @andreamsahouri, or by phone 515-284-8247.
Nick Coltrain is a Policy and Data Reporter for the Register. Get to him in [email protected] or 515-284-8361.