The mother of Daniel Theriot had said he wandered off Sunday morning from a Las Vegas park while she was on the phone
One day after a Las Vegas mom reported her 3-year-old son missing from a park, police have arrested the mom and her boyfriend after finding the boy’s dead body, PEOPLE confirms.
Authorities called off the search for Daniel Theriot after they discovered his body Monday in a remote area near Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Las Vegas Metro Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told reporters at a Monday press conference.
Neither the 20-year-old mother nor a 40-year-old man identified as the woman’s boyfriend were immediately named. But both could face potential murder charges as well as child abuse charges after authorities located the victim’s 2-year-old sibling and gave the sibling to Child Protective Services, Spencer said.
Police earlier reported that the blond, blue-eyed Daniel was last seen about 8:45 a.m. Sunday, according to social media posts from the department seeking the public’s help.
The mother said she’d been in Sunset Park with her son and was using her phone when the boy wandered off. But when no other witnesses could corroborate seeing the woman and her son together at the park, police dug deeper into her story, Spencer said.
He declined to reveal anything about how police discovered the body or how the child died, but did say “there was nothing accidental about it.”
He also said that authorities believe Daniel may have been dead at least 12 hours before he was reported missing.
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He said the couple had a criminal history but had not previously been investigated by child welfare workers.
“Having children is stressful,” he said. “Having toddlers is stressful. Having babies is stressful.”
“If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot care for your child, you can take your child to a fire station, you can take your child to a hospital, but this is absolutely — this is hard to deal with,” he said.
It could not be determined if the mother or her boyfriend had obtained an attorney.