Body Found in Canal Is Missing Boy

Robert Manwill, 8, vanished July 24; Family has history of violence.

ByABC News
July 30, 2009, 3:13 PM

Aug. 4, 2009— -- A body pulled from a canal south of Boise, Idaho, has been tentatively identified as little Robert Manwill, the 8-year-old boy with an impish grin who disappeared July 24, police said.

Ada County coroner Erwin Sonnenberg released a statement today saying his office was still trying to determine the cause of death. Dental records will be checked to confirm the identification, he said.

"Finding Robert will not be the end, but just the beginning of an entirely new investigation," Boise Police Department Deputy Chief Jim Kerns said. "Our priority remains finding answers for Robert's family and this community."

No Amber Alert was ever issued for Robert, because police initially said they did not have evidence of foul play in his disappearance. But Friday they said their investigation had led them to fear that Robert may have been the "victim of a tragic event."

Kerns asked today for patience as police continue to investigate what happened to the boy.

"We caution those who would speculate, who spread rumors or second-guess what's happening behind the scenes," he said. "Our system of justice demands that we focus on evidence. Our investigative experience tells us that we cannot jump to conclusions. The police investigation into Robert's disappearance continues and is very active."

Someone walking by the New York Canal in Kuna, in Ada County, saw the body of a boy floating in the water and called police, Kerns said Monday after the discovery. One of the first officers on the scene jumped into the water and pulled out the body, he said.

The discovery of the body came after days of intense searching for the boy. Several police agencies spent the weekend digging up the backyard of a home in Ada County that police told ABC News affiliate KIVI-TV in Boise is rented by people who know the boyfriend of Robert's mother.