4-year-old boy’s body pulled from hole

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This image provided by the New Mexico State Police shows 4-year-old Samuel Jones in an undated photo. (AP Photo/New Mexico State Police)

CARLSBAD, N.M. — Crews pulled the body of a 4-year-old boy from a narrow, 30-foot-deep hole in Carlsbad Monday, two days after he disappeared from his home next door, state police said.

Spokesman Robert McDonald said police confirm the body is Samuel Jones.

Efforts to recover the body began Sunday afternoon after a detective shined his flashlight down a hole and saw what appeared to be a boy dressed in clothing Samuel was last wearing when he disappeared Saturday. Searchers later sent a camera down the hole and confirmed a child was about 30 feet down. Temperature and oxygen levels were later taken and showed no signs of life.

An Amber Alert in effect for him was canceled Sunday night.

A large tracked excavator was used in the recovery along with metal shoring typically used in pipeline construction projects. A specialized search and rescue team from Roswell went Carlsbad to oversee the operations.

A renewed house-to-house search had just started shortly after daybreak Sunday morning when a detective found the 14-inch-wide hole in the backyard of the home next door to Samuel’s house, said Carlsbad police spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Moyers.

The boy’s mother and father were told of the discovery of the body while at the scene.

There is no indication of foul play, and police know of no history of child abuse at the home, but detectives are treating the case as a homicide as a precaution, Moyers said.

Samuel lived in the home with his parents and two older siblings, a boy and girl ages 6 and 7, Moyers said. Some young cousins were at the house Saturday when the boy was last seen playing in the yard.

The rural neighborhood is a ix of homes and vacant lots. A 4-foot chain link fence separates the boy’s home from his neighbor’s. It’s possible the boy could have climbed the fence and simply fallen into the hole, which was dry and may be deeper than where the body was wedged, Moyers said. There are no curbs or sidewalks in the neighborhood on the city’s south side.

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This story was written and provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)