A two-year-old boy who vanished in Australia’s crocodile country has been found dead on his family’s property.
Police divers discovered missing Ruben Scott’s body in a large dam on Friday, three days after he disappeared from the cattle farm in Koolatah Station.
The heartbreaking discovery was announced shortly after police said the boy was likely dead and following fears that he may have been snatched by a crocodile.
Ruben’s grandfather Noel Scott told reporters earlier that family members were preparing for the worst.
Mr Scott said: “As a family we’d just like to thank police search and rescue, Kowanyama police and the SES,” Mr Scott said.
“Hopefully we can find Ruben today.”
Earlier, Chief Patrol Inspect Mark Henderson announced: “It’s with regret last night I had to sit with the family and advise them that the survivability of their son and grandson has now passed.”
The cause of death has not been revealed.
Ruben’s mum Natasha Scott wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: “As people may know my little Ruby has gone missing.
“I have every person that can help helping to find him … (I am) trying to hold myself together.”
Dozens of emergency services workers and volunteers searched the for boy after he was reported missing on Tuesday.
They scoured the 170,000-hectare (69,000-acre) property – which backs onto a lagoon and river – by land, water and air.
They searched for the boy on foot, horseback and motorbike, and used heat-seeking drones.
Police divers were brought in to search the dam near the family’s home.
A spokesperson for Queensland Police said: “Police divers this afternoon (Friday) sadly located the body believed to be missing two-year-old boy Ruben Scott.
“He was found in a large dam located near the homestead.
“Our thoughts go out to Ruben’s family, friends and the communities of Maramie and Kowanyama, as well as everyone involved in the search during this difficult time.
“Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley expressed his condolences to the family and his gratitude for all involved in the search.
“Police will now be preparing a report for the Coroner.”