Authorities are still waiting to confirm the identity of the body, found by a farmer while working in a field.
Xavior Harrelson was never the kind of kid who would wander far away from home. That's why loved ones grew increasingly alarmed when they couldn't find him in May, 2021, just days before he was to celebrate his 11th birthday.
Months after he disappeared, his mother Sarah Harrelson said they have "no answers." "In the end, the truth is going to come out. I just want my son," she told Des Moines Register in August 2021.
About a month after Sarah said these words, authorities made a heartbreaking discovery on Thursday, September 30, 2021. Unfortunately, this was not the kind of update that the boy's family was hoping for.
Authorities revealed that they found the body of a child that matched Xavior's description. However, they have still not confirmed whether the body is, indeed, the remains of Xavior, who disappeared after stepping out of his home in Montezuma, Iowa for a bike ride.
The police found the body after the local sheriff's office received a call from a farmer. The father said he was working in a field a few miles outside of Montezuma when he stumbled upon the corpse.
"We are not saying it is Xavior Harrelson at this time," said Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of Iowa's Division of Criminal Investigation, according to ABC News. "There's a lot of work yet to be done at the scene here, and as you can imagine, the state medical examiner's office and state anthropologist have a lot of work left ahead of them in the days and weeks, even, to come."
It was clear that the body was lying in the field for a "significant" amount of time. The clothes found were also "consistent with what we knew Xavior to last be wearing" before he was reported missing, Mortvedt said.
When authorities informed Sarah about the development, Mortvedt said she was "naturally she was upset."
The past few months have been excruciating for Sarah as she waited to know what happened to Xavior and hoped he would be found alive. "The whole time you're still looking for his face, still watching," she told Des Moines Register in August. "Then there's the 'why,'" she continued. "The whole time you're still looking for his face, still watching. Then there's the 'why.'"
Sarah described her son as an "extraordinary" child with an imagination that was "out of this world." She imagined that the boy would grow up to be a movie or book writer someday. "He's an extraordinary kid," Sarah said. "I miss my son." Back then, the devastated mother also said, "Children just don't disappear. Somebody knows something, too."
After Xavior was reported missing, a widespread search began to find him; state and federal authorities, as well as volunteers, also joined the search. "We love you," his mother said, according to KCRG. "We are not going to stop looking for you."
Now, with a child's remains having been discovered in the area, authorities might be one step closer to determining what happened to Xavior. According to PEOPLE, it may take weeks to confirm the identity. "We still don't know much," Mortvedt said. "We can make assumptions, but that's always dangerous."
Cover image source: Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office