Missing Delhi child found dead

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Authorities said dive teams found the body of 3-year-old Andres Tomas in a canal near where he went missing near Shanks Road and Letteau Avenue. (KFSN)

The Merced County Sheriff's Department confirms they found a missing Delhi toddler in the canal near the family's home on Monday.

Andres Tomas, 3, went missing on Saturday while his grandmother was watching him and his younger sibling. Two days later, the divers found Tomas at the bottom of a wier.

Deputies started their search for the toddler at 7 a.m. but said this is the ending that no one wanted to see.

"Right inside near the box, toward the bottom the diver located the little boy," Merced County undersheriff Jason Goins said.

MCSO divers found Andres in a Delhi canal along Letteau and Griffith Avenues. Deputies spent all day in the sky, on the ground and in the water searching for the toddler.

"We all have children, it hits very close to home," Goins said. "We're doing it for the family for closure, it never gets any easier."

Deputies said Tomas' grandmother was watching him and his younger 2-year-old sibling in the backyard of her Delhi home. They said she lost sight of him for just seconds, and he took off running to the outside fence line. She tried calling him back and ran after him but by the time his grandmother got to the spot where she saw the toddler, he was gone.

Deputies said they kept all options open but footprints near the water led them to believe he went inside the canal behind the grandmother's home. The community also came together to help with the search. People living near the canal like Bill Renehart said he spent hours searching for the child on Sunday.

"I have three girls and I could not even comprehend something like that happening," he said.

Another couple who lives near the canal said their daughter also fell into the canal six years ago and almost drowned. Since then, they've been asking for a fence to be put up to help protect the other kids in the area.

"These kids have to be locked up for the safety of all these kids and adults," Juan Jimenez of Delhi said. "It's really hard to get out of there."

An autopsy will be performed on the child to figure out if anything else may have happened but authorities said at this point everything seems consistent with what they know and with statements from the family.

"This is not the result we wanted," Goins said. "We wanted a happy ending."
Related Topics:
newsmissing boymerced countyDelhi
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