LAKELAND -- A missing 6-year-old boy with special needs who disappeared Friday was found dead in a pond behind his home, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Adam Roach's body was found about 10:40 p.m. by Polk sheriff's divers, assisted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Adam disappeared from his apartment at Carlton Arms Apartments on Shepherd Road about 3:30 pm. Judd said it's believed the boy went from his front door straight to the retention pond.
Deputies and members of other law enforcement agencies searched for hours for the boy. They were especially concerned because Adam was hard of hearing, nonverbal and functioned at the level of an 18-month-old child.
They were also concerned by a trip Adam took with his grandmother to a nearby swimming pool on Thursday, which including passing the ponds, said Judd, who added that Adam may have wanted to return to the swimming pool on Friday.
An autopsy will be conducted.
The Polk County school district released a statement on Saturday. It reads, “Adam Roach was, as we say within the district, ‘one of ours.’ He had just completed kindergarten at Roberts Elementary, and faculty and staff at the school were looking forward to seeing him when school starts next week. He was a precious child lost much too soon, and we are all grieving. He and his family are in our prayers. We will have grief counselors on site at the school on Monday and when school begins on Thursday to assist employees and students.”