Police: Bones found are that of missing boy

The Buckeye Police Department confirmed Tuesday that the bones found in a Buckeye farm field are those of a 10-year-o...

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 10:17 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2018 10:17 PM

The Buckeye Police Department confirmed Tuesday that the bones found in a Buckeye farm field are those of a 10-year-old boy who vanished nearly two years ago.

"It is with great sadness that we are here today to announce that we have identified the remains as those of Jesse Wilson. Like so many of you across our community, we are devastated by this news," according to a Facebook post by the Buckeye Police Department.

"While this is not the outcome for which any of us had hoped, we want to stress that this is not the end of our investigation. The Buckeye Police Department, along with our state and federal partners, will continue to pursue this investigation until its conclusion. We believe this case will be resolved as Jesse deserves nothing less."

The Buckey Police Department has scheduled news conference at 2 p.m. We will carry that live here in azfamily.com and in our free mobile app.

Jesse, whose 12th birthday was Friday, March 16, disappeared in July 2016. His mother, Crystal Wilson, told police she learned he was missing the morning of July 18, but she had not seen him since the night before.

According to police, Wilson called the department's non-emergency line at about 1 a.m. on Monday, July 18. She told police her son walked away from their home like he had done in the past.

Jesse's family believed he slipped out of the house through his bedroom window that night. They say he had sneaked out before but had never stayed away for an extended period of time.

News of the little boy's disappearance spawned a massive community search with neighbors and authorities setting out on foot. Police deployed K-9s and drones looked for the boy from the air. The FBI was involved, as well.

As the search for Jesse continued, Wilson made a tearful appeal for her son to come home.

[READ MORE: Mother makes tearful appeal for son to come home]

"Your sister and your brother love you so much," she said days after reporting him missing. "I love you so much."

Nearly a month into the search, answers were still scarce.

Detectives went back to Wilson's home, leaving with bags and envelopes usually used to collect evidence.

"This is a child that disappeared in the middle of the night," Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall said at the time. "So, there's a lot of different scenarios that we have to play out. And one of the scenarios that we play out is the one we have to play out today, that he might have been dumped in the desert."

That now appears to have been the case.

It also was learned that Wilson had adopted Jesse, his twin sister and their older brother. State child safety workers took Jesse's sibling out of Wilson's home when Jesse went missing.

Wilson did not show up for an October 2016 court hearing regarding the children. The dependency hearing was initiated by The Arizona Department of Child Safety in a first move to terminate Wilson's parental rights to Jesse, if found, and his two siblings.

Hall said after that hearing that his investigators had not talked with Wilson since her initial interview and their follow-up early in the investigation. He also confirmed that she has not reached out to anyone in the Buckeye Police Department for updates on the case or to offer any additional information.

Wilson's court hearing came after it was learned that officers had come into contact with Jesse in March, about four months before he disappeared, and then again in April.

In the first incident, Jesse and his siblings had been wandering outside a Walgreens by themselves for a couple of hours.

Wilson told officers that she had gone to the kids' school to pick them up but they had gotten on the bus when they were not supposed to.

In the second instance, a neighbor told police Jesse was standing on a street corner and had asked them for food.

Jesse was returned to Wilson both times.

The Buckeye Police Department followed up on numerous tips, evening setting up a special phone number and email for tips about Jesse's whereabouts.

Nothing ever turned up. Until now.

Police said they received a call the morning of Thursday, March 8 from somebody who saw the bones near Broadway Road and State Route 85. That's a drive of about 10 minutes from Jesse's home in the area of 239th Avenue and Twilight Trail.

nvestigators quickly determined that the bones are human, but it took longer to determine the if they were those of an adult or a child and even more time to positively identify them.

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