JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX/WAVE) - Search crews in Jackson County believe they've found the body of a missing three-year-old boy from Alabama. Sheriff Mike Byrd told our sister station, WLOX News, that forensic tests will have to be done to verify that it is Jonathan "Chase" DeBlase.
The body was discovered around 10:30am about 30 feet off the east end of Highway 57.
Wednesday morning, more than 70 searchers combed a five-mile stretch of woods along the highway, 12 miles north of Vancleave. A similar search is still underway in Citronelle, Alabama for the remains of Chase's sister, five-year-old Natalie DeBlase.
The children have been missing since March. Their father, John DeBlase, told investigators he buried his kids in the woods in June, and gave the search teams specifics on where they could be found.
The recovery of the boy's remains will take several hours. The skeletal remains will be processed in Mississippi, then sent to Alabama. Officials in Mobile say until an official cause of death is determined, no additional charges will be filed against the father or stepmother.
John DeBlase is in custody on child abuse and corpse abuse charges. He claims the children's stepmother, Heather Leavell-Keaton killed the kids.
Leavell-Keaton is being held in Louisville on child abuse charges, awaiting return to Mobile. She says DeBlase poisoned the children.