Police searching for seven-year-old Conley Thompson who went missing on Sunday night have found the body of a child on a construction site.
South Yorkshire Police believe the body to be that of Conley, from Barnsley, and said his family have been informed.
Conley was last seen on Sunday evening playing with friends a mile away from the construction site on Bank End Road in Worsbrough.
Conley's grandmother, Deborah Fraser, has said he died when he slipped into a plastic pipe on the construction site.
Police said the body was found at approximately 8.30am.
Detective Inspector Victoria Short leading the investigation said: “We deployed our full resources with officers searching throughout the night to find Conley and we are deeply saddened by this tragic development.
“While it is early in the investigation, the death is being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.
“Our thoughts remain with Conley's family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Conley was last seen in Locke Park where he had gone to play with friends at around 6pm. He is believed to have left the park at around 8pm but failed to return home to Underwood Avenue in Worsbrough afterwards. He was reported missing shortly after.
Around 50 police officers were reportedly deployed in the search for the missing boy overnight, according to the BBC, while local residents tweeted seeing a helicopter joining the search effort.
Detectives had this morning cordoned off the building site as many had taken to social media to share in the search for Conley. The boy's school made a public appeal for information about his disappearance on Facebook.
Nichola Thorpe, headteacher of Worsbrough Bank End Primary School, wrote on Facebook: “Dear families, can you help?
“Conley is missing since last night (Sunday) and the police are looking for him. We pray that he is safe and has stayed with friends.
“Please share and spread the word to get him home safe and well.”
Flowers and teddy bears have been laid near the construction site in tribute to Conley.
One of his friends, Even Dunning, also seven-years-old, described Conley as “a bit naughty,” but nodded his head when asked if he would miss him. His mother, Cheryl Dunning, said the discovery of the boy’s body was “very sad”.
His grandmother visited the construction site to pay tribute to him and said she was "shellshocked" by his death.
Speaking about how he got trapped in the pipe, said said: "He slipped. You know it was raining, he slipped and went straight down. I hate to think what his little mind was going through. His brain must have been all over the place trying to get out."
She added: “It makes it worse because he's the same age (as her son) and everyone knew him.”
Kelsey Heeley, 17, who lives near the construction site, said: “I can't really put into words how people are feeling because you don't know.
”It's heartbreaking, because he's a young boy. It would be heartbreaking if it were anybody but he had his life to come.“
Reverend Trevor Keightley, vicar at the nearby St Thomas' Church in Worsbrough, said the community is shocked, but that “all our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time”.
”Everyone's feeling it at the moment and everyone is very upset about it all.
“There was lots of people on Facebook and others going out to look for him, so people were very concerned for him.”
The church will be open tomorrow and Wednesday as a book of condolences is opened.
Additional reporting by PA
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