Texas police are looking to identify the body of a young boy found on a Galveston beach last week.
The body of a boy believed to be 3 to 5 years old was found in a sandy area near the surf by two people who had been walking on the beach Friday afternoon, according to the Galveston Police Department.
During a press conference on Sunday, Galveston Police Capt. Joshua Schirard said the pair who found the boy had been walking in a location that was "not heavily traversed." No one else was seen in the vicinity of where the boy was found -- on a small stretch of beach between two major beaches, police said.
On Sunday, investigators released a sketch of the boy, whom they described as about 3 feet tall with a slender build, with black hair about 3 to 4 inches in length and brown eyes. The child weighed about 30 pounds and appeared to be of Hispanic origin, Schirard said.
The boy's body was found "in fairly intact condition" with no obvious trauma to his body, Schirard said. Investigators are still waiting on the medical examiner to determine the child's cause of death, Schirard said. He was found nude, but Schirard said his clothes could have been removed by the rough surf.
"The surf down here can absolutely rip clothes form the body," he said.
Authorities will continue to treat the case as a homicide until they "can unequivocally prove otherwise," Schirard said.
The fact that no one has come forward to report a missing child is what makes the case "so unusual," he added. He said that with Galveston's 37 miles of beaches, they often deal with drownings during tourist season in the summer, but the drowning victim is always accompanied by someone.
"We don’t have bodies just wash up on our beach with no story behind them -- much less 3 to 5-year-old children. This doesn’t happen here. It hasn’t happened here," he said.
Since the boy's body was found near the surf, the possibilities on how he got there are "somewhat endless," Schirard said, adding that he could have washed up there, been placed there or fallen there.
"This is an extremely unusual case for Galveston Island, and the circumstances surrounding this death grow more and more suspicious as the time goes on," Schirard said.
Schirard asked the public to share the sketch of the boy to expedite his identification.
"Someone somewhere knows this child and can help us identify who this is," Schirard said. "Somebody knows this kid."
The sketch of the boy was drawn by forensic artist Lois Gibson, whom Schirard described as "one of the most experienced and best forensic artists in the nation."
Gibson said at Sunday's press conference that the boy "almost looked alive" in the photos of the body she saw.
"He was all there," she said. "His lips were full, and I could see his teeth and picture him smiling. He had beautiful eyelashes. Everything was intact. He was one of the best unidentified murder victims I'd ever seen."
The case has some similarities to the murder of Bella Bond, the 2-year-old who was nicknamed "Baby Doe" after her unidentified body washed up on a beach near Boston in June 2015. It took 85 days for the girl to be identified.
Michael McCarthy, who was dating Bond's mother, was found guilty of second-degree murder in her death and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole.
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