Body of missing autistic boy Kyrin Carter found in Indiana River

"Anybody that has a heart and loves kids, children, or have children of their own, even ones that (are) autistic, special needs, out here, trying to help,” said an unnamed woman who volunteered in the search for Carter.

The search for a missing 12-year-old in Hammond, Indiana has come to a heart-piercing end.

On Tuesday, Hammond police confirmed that the body of Kyrin Carter had been discovered in the Little Calumet River. A volunteer kayaker, 33-year-old Eric Smith of Hobart, Indiana found Carter’s body Monday night, ABC 7 Chicago reports

“I looked at it because if it was my daughter I would want somebody out there giving their all, but I kept thinking it was a lost kid, and we gotta find him,” Smith said.

Kyrin Carter Indiana
Kyrin Carter (Credit: Hammond Indiana Police Department)

Carter was reported missing on May 15 from Hammond. Authorities say the day before Carter went missing, he was seen running toward the Little Calumet River located behind the Best Western hotel where he was staying but was caught. The next day, Carter apparently did the same thing but was not caught the second time. 

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Carter was on the autistic spectrum and nonverbal but highly functional, ABC 7 Chicago reports. The 12-year-old lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and traveled to Hammond with his mother Danielle Duckworth to visit family.  Authorities say tons of volunteers searched for Carter near the Little Calumet River and multiple agencies including the Little Calumet River Basin commissioner assisted with the search. The investigation is still pending an autopsy to determine the cause of death. 

The river’s banks are described as steep and slippery. On May 21, authorities made a first-time-ever decision to stop the flow of water into the river so that searchers could get as deep as possible. Carter’s body was found roughly 300 feet from the Best Western where he was last seen on May 15. 

“This is a baby; he’s autistic, special needs, who wouldn’t?” said an unnamed woman who volunteered, speaking of others who did as well. “Anybody that has a heart and loves kids, children, or have children of their own, even ones that (are) autistic, special needs, out here, trying to help.” 

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Earlier this month, Duckworth had asked the public for help in looking for Carter. She described her son as a “good kid” and told NBC Chicago that she “just wanted him to make it back home in one piece”. 

Outpours of condolences have come from the community in Hammond and other nearby cities in Northwestern Indiana, including from Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and the police department. 

“It was just me and my kids, kind of like some closure I suppose, closure on it because when I heard last night I didn’t sleep,” said Melissa Clark, a mother who came from Portage, Indiana to bring flowers to Carter’s memorial. 

“I didn’t get any sleep, and I know that a lot of people around here feel the same way.”

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