Body of Florida Toddler Jose Lara Found in Septic Tank a Day After He Vanished While Playing in His

The search for the missing 1-year-old ended with the tragic discovery of his body

By Steve HellingMarch 28, 2022 10:07 PM


Authorities in rural Putnam County, Fla., have found the body of Jose Lara, the 1-year-old boy who disappeared on Sunday afternoon while playing in the family's backyard.

Searchers found Jose's body in the septic area of the property, Sheriff Gator DeLoach said in a news conference on Monday evening. He was not immediately found because weeds, dirt, and plywood covered the opening to the septic tank.

"It's not an uncommon practice in a situation like this when there's a child missing to search the septic tank as well," Sheriff DeLoach said, according to "Actually one of our leadership team members that made the call to drain the septic tank. At that point, it was unfortunately when we discovered the child's body."

Authorities say that it appears that the boy stepped on the plywood, which was rotten. He fell into the septic tank and died.

Jose was last seen outside his house in Crescent City, which is located approximately an hour from Daytona Beach. He was playing with his sister.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Jose's mother briefly took his sister inside to clean her up, and when she returned to the backyard, Jose was gone.

The toy truck he was playing with was still in the yard, but there was no sign of the toddler.

Earlier on Monday, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office confirmed to PEOPLE that a massive search effort was underway. Authorities were using bloodhounds, drones, helicopters and night-vision tools.

The Sheriff's Office says that there is no indication of foul play, but that the investigation is ongoing.


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