A shoeless toddler wearing only a shirt and a diaper wandered for miles in rugged Arizona terrain as temperatures ranged from 61 to 90 before collapsing and dying, officials said today.
The toddler's lifeless body was discovered a mile from his home in Wednesday, two days after disappearing from his home in the Dewey-Humbolt area while his mother napped.
But his trail led searchers for several miles as the boy apparently became lost and was unable to find his way home.
"He went over hills, washes, and thickets. He went through a lot," Search and Rescue spokesman Jeff Newnum told ABC News affiliate ABC 15.
"All together, Emmett probably walked close to three or four miles," Newnum said.
Robert Lowery, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which helped in the search, told ABC News, "He was found in the rugged terrain area. It looks like the child probably did wander off."
Lowery said it wasn't surprising for the boy to travel so far, despite being barefoot.
"Oh sure that's possible. What they do is they wander and get disoriented. We've found them long distances before, further than that," Lowery said.
He said that searchers were disappointed they didn't find Emmett in time.
"We have found children missing as long as five days in rugged terrain areas. We were holding out hope on this one," Lowery said.
Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's office, said Emmett's body was found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The 2-year-old boy was reported missing Monday evening by his mother in the Dewey-Humbolt area, 80-miles north of Phoenix.
"She had taken a nap, and woken up sometime in the early evening to find Emmett gone from the home. She did a quick search of the home, and the property around the home and could not find Emmett," D'Evelyn said.
According to D'Evelyn, the mother, who police did not identify, was at home with Emmett and his three siblings before she went to sleep. When she woke up and couldn't find Emmett, she contacted her husband who was at work and contacted the sheriff's office to report the toddler missing. D'Evelyn said authorities arrived at the house shortly after 8 p.m. and begin conducting interviews and searching the area for the boy.
Searchers checked several abandoned wells and mine shafts in the area with remote cameras without any signs of the boy and volunteers, some riding ATVs and horses, combed the area for any sign of Emmett.
A helicopter using an infrared heat seeking device scanned the area around the Trapp home. The boy's trail was eventually picked up by bloodhounds.
The discovery of Emmett's body brings to a tragic end the search for one of two toddlers who vanished in the area over the last two weeks.
The county has also been searching over the past two weeks for Sylar Newton, also 2, who is believed to have been abducted from a tent while on a camping trip with his soon to be adopted parents. Authorities have said they believe Sylar to be deceased.
"I am being told by folks on site who are in charge of the investigation there is absolutely no connection between this case and the Sylar Newton case. It just happens to be a coincidence," spokesman D'Evelyn told a press conference earlier this week.