RIVERSIDE — The body of a 3-year-old boy who disappeared almost a week ago was found Monday in a shallow grave in a citrus grove near Lake Mathews, southwest of here, authorities said.
While no positive identification had been made, Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Don Bender said "we're satisfied that it is" Bobby Crawford, who was last seen in the dune buggy of his mother's missing boyfriend last Tuesday in Glen Avon.
"We went out to do an investigation and found a young male body in a shallow grave wearing clothes consistent with those of Bobby Crawford when he was reported missing," Bender said. The clothing included a yellow tank-top shirt, he said.
Positive identification of the child's body, which appeared to have been in the grave for "a few days," may be made as early as this morning, the sergeant said. "Initially, there is no indication of sexual abuse," he added.
With the news, the child's parents, Bob Crawford and his ex-wife, Karen Hill, called off the search they had been conducting with volunteers.
Bender said the afternoon discovery "was an accidental walk-on by a citizen walking through the groves."
On Monday night, investigators were conducting an "inch-by-inch search for physical evidence" at the makeshift grave site, located about 10 miles south of where the child was last seen alive.
"We have several suspects, all of them known to the family," Bender said.
Deputies are still seeking Raymond Farrell, 29, the boyfriend of the child's mother. He was questioned and released Wednesday night, but Bender said there were "inconsistencies in his story regarding the times and people that he says he saw that day."
Farrell failed to show up for further questioning Thursday. He is also being sought on unrelated cocaine charges.
"He (Farrell) knows we want him," Bender said.
Farrell originally told authorities that he left Bobby and his 18-month-old brother, Jason, in the back of his dune buggy when he parked at a convenience store.
Jason crawled out and followed Farrell into the store, where they stayed for a few minutes, Farrell said. When he returned, Bobby was gone, he told deputies.
Jason Crawford has since been turned over to the county Department of Social Services after evidence indicated that his mother may have abused him, Bender said.
"At first she told us the bruises on his neck had been inflicted by someone else," Bender said. "But now it is possible that there is child endangerment involved in leaving Jason in her care, so we took him away."
Hill was not arrested because the evidence was inconclusive, Bender said.