Queensland police believe they have found the body of two-year-old Ruben Scott, who has been missing since Tuesday.
“Our thoughts go out to Ruben’s family, friends and the communities of Maramie and Kowanyama, as well as everyone involved in the search during this difficult time,” Queensland police said in a statement, after they located Scott in a large dam on a remote Cape York cattle station.
Late on Thursday, police sat the Scott family down and told them too much time had passed for the two-year-old to have survived.
He was last seen by his mother Natasha Scott at 5.44pm on Tuesday before he wandered away from the homestead on Koolatah Station – a vast, rugged property on the western side of Cape York Peninsula.
Search crews have spent the intervening days combing dense bushland and nearby waterways, only finding Scott on Friday afternoon.
“Last night I had to sit with the family and advise them the survivability of their son and grandson has now passed,” Cape Patrol Inspector Mark Henderson said early on Friday afternoon.
Eight police divers have travelled to the station, which is known crocodile habitat. On Friday their efforts were focused on a large lake that lies behind the homestead.
“They are being assisted by (environment department) officers who are helping us gauge the level of crocodile infestation in that area,” Insp Henderson said.
He offered thanks to the army of volunteers and emergency personnel who joined the search for Ruben.
“We’ve had some 1700 square kilometres, 450,000 square acres, to search.
“It’s been a very hard task and we’ve given it our best but pediatric experts now tell us that survivability has passed.”