"He was always attached to his mother," a family friend said.
When Harry Kkonde's parents dropped him off at his sitter's place on June 14, 2022, they never thought it would be the last time they would ever see their 3-year-old boy.
After his parents dropped him off around 7:00 am, he was reported missing 15 minutes after he was last seen at around 9:15 am, according to officials.
Soon after, hundreds of investigators began to search for the child. His father described Harry to WCVB-TV saying, "He likes going outside. When he's at home, he goes to the yard and plays. He's a healthy kid but he can't speak. He's trying to learn how to speak but he can't talk."
During the search, Carlisle Police Chief John Fisher said officials were "checking every spot in that neighborhood from a breadbox on up," according to NBC Boston. "A 3-year-old of average mobility, fortunately, or unfortunately, can get pretty far," Fisher told reporters on the morning of June 15, 2022. "So today we're going out even further than we might yesterday."
By afternoon, the boy's body was found by a Massachusetts State Police Diver in a pond in about five feet of water, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office wrote in a news release. There were no obvious signs of trauma, they added.
The pond was located at a Christmas tree farm about 650 feet away from the babysitter's Lowell home, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said during a news conference, according to ABC News.
"This is obviously every parent's worst nightmare: a child who disappears for a very short period of time, the excruciating hours of the search and then the recovery of his body," Ryan said at the news conference.
Officials also shared that they are still looking for answers. "I want to be clear that we have no idea how Harry came to reach that pond, where he might have been, or how long it might have taken him to reach that pond," Ryan said.
Meanwhile, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office wrote in their release that "the investigation into this matter is ongoing and includes attempts to learn what time and how Harry entered the water."
The little one's cause and manner of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. One of the farm owners said they were "heartbroken."
"We both were looking for this little boy yesterday," the owner shared. "We were sitting at the pond last night just saying let's hope they'll find him tonight. And we were at the pond last night sitting there, he was right there in the pond."
In a statement, the police wrote, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Harry's family during this difficult time. The LPD is thankful to all of our law enforcement partners for their assistance and grateful to the community for their support and assistance throughout the search. "
On June 16, 2022, a vigil was held for the boy, not too far from the pond where his body was found, per CBS News. "He was always attached to his mother," family friend Maureen Kalemba said. "And he was always looking out for love and hugs and kisses that we used to give him."
"How one day are you alive and in the blink of a moment you're gone," Kalemba said. "The mother came in the morning and before even she could settle, her son was gone."
"He felt love. At least one thing I know he knew, he was loved," Kalemba said.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Lowell Police Department (Official)