Distraught searchers announced Thursday they had found the small body of Noah Chamberlin, a Tennessee toddler who wandered off one week ago while walking in the woods with his grandmother.
Chester County Sheriff Blair Weaver was overcome as he delivered the news in a press conference at a local church.
He paused for several moments after announcing "We have found Noah Chamberlin." Struggling with his emotions and breaking into tears, the sheriff added, "He was located about one-and-a-half miles from the home where he went missing ... The family has been notified."
Noah, who loved running and hiding, had taken off while he was in the woods with his grandmother and his older sister.
"Just like grandma said, she turned her head for a minute and he was gone," Weaver said. "There were trails everywhere."
Madison County Sheriff John Mehr and Weaver called the child's death "a tragic accident." There was no indication of foul play, they said.
Hundreds of volunteers had been scouring the rugged area. Noah's body was found after authorities expanded their search area.
He was found in a clearing, just a half-mile outside of the original grid combed by rescuers. Authorities had not believed the toddler could get that far on his own, despite his penchant for running off.
"Everybody we talked to talked about how he ran all the time, jumped over tables, ran, just nonstop," Mehr said. "He loved to hide. We had people tell us that even adults would run after him, and they couldn't catch him."
His family asked for privacy and thanked the community for looking for their boy.
"They just said they wanted to make sure everybody knew how much they appreciated that," Mehr said. "They want Noah's life to be honored in the fact that he brought a community together."
Parents Jacob and Destiny Chamberlin are left with their 4-year-old daughter. The father is a truck driver. Both kids were being watched by their grandmother while their mother went to the store.