Police searching for a missing 12-year-old boy in remote Central Australia have found the body of a child.
It was discovered only 120 metres from where three family members were found dead near their broken-down vehicle on Wednesday near Willowra, about 300km northwest of Alice Springs.
A formal identification is yet to be undertaken to confirm if the body is that of the boy, who was believed to have been a passenger in the car.
Initially located were a 19-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and a three-year-old boy, described as a young family.
Northern Territory Police had been conducting a land and air search of the area after other family members told them the older boy might have been a passenger.
Southern Desert Division Superintendent Jody Nobbs said police were yet to rule out that there may have been more passengers.
“Although police have no information that suggests there were other passengers in the car, we will continue a precautionary land and air search until we are satisfied that all areas of interest have been sufficiently canvassed,” he said.
“This is a tragic situation and our thoughts remain with the families affected by this incident.”
The vehicle was found about 70km from Willowra and last seen leaving the indigenous community on Friday bound for Yarra Yarra.
The deaths are not considered suspicious with the bodies found about 4.5km from the vehicle.
Remnants of food and water were also discovered at the scene.
First reports to police on Wednesday indicated the vehicle had crashed but investigators found that was not the case.
Supt Nobbs said the man who made the initial report to the health clinic in Willowra would be interviewed.
“He will be a critical part of the investigation. He’s quite distraught about what he’s found,” he said.