OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) – The search for a missing 9-year-old Oakland Park boy has ended with tragic results.
Tuesday morning, shortly after 8:00 a.m., divers with the Broward Sheriff’s Office pulled the body of Samuel Sabin out of a lake behind the Crystal Lake Apartments, located at 4160 NW 21st Avenue.
Sabin had gone out to play at a basketball court late Monday afternoon.
His family became concerned when he didn’t return home and BSO says they reported him missing 9:50 pm on Monday.
Deputies started searching for Sabin Monday night but an important clue lead the search to the small lake. A pair of sandals that belonged to Samuel was located nearby by Nathan Newton.
“I knew he had to be in the water,” Nathan said. “Unless you’re abducted or something else happened, you have to be in the water.”
“He’s only 9-years-old,” said his father Cenou Sabin. “One of the sweetest kids you’re ever gonna meet.”
“I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this could happen,” Cenou said.
The boy’s family knew something was wrong when he didn’t return home after playing basketball in the neighborhood Monday night.
It remains unclear how Samuel, whose family described him as smart, sweet and quiet, ended up in the water.
“We don’t know if he’s been bullied or if he just wandered around or if he saw something he liked. We just don’t know,” said his sister Sherleen.
His family was shocked and hysterical after learning Samuel had died.
Some residents in the Oakland Park community said they think the case could have been handled differently.
“I got to be honest, when the Sheriff’s office is suppose to convey some short of hope and direction for a family that’s in distress, the family sat right here on the curb when four officers sat over there talking about their weekend and motorcycles,” said neighbor Chad Burnside.
CBS4 took those concerns to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“I can tell you investigators were definitely concerned about the situation,” said BSO’S Veda Coleman-Wright.
Samuel’s family wants to know why the gate to the lake wasn’t locked and why the child he was with Monday won’t talk to the police. They have retained an attorney.
Resident Nathan Newton says he spotted the child’s shoes by the shoreline around 11 pm Monday night and alerted authorities.
Newton says they did a brief search around the lake and a BSO helicopter flew over once shining a light but there was no sign of Sabin.
“I knew he had to be in the water, unless someone abducted you, you have to be in the water,” said Newton.
Newton’s son Tyler commented, ” he was nice. I knew he didn’t know how to swim so I don’t know why he would go near the water.
Sabin’s family is puzzled as well.
His aunt Aliette Charles spoke to CBS 4.
She said the gate to the lake was ‘unlocked.’
And she thinks someone was with Samuel who could provide information on what happened.
“I want to know why the child he was with yesterday, the child he spent all day with now won’t talk to police,” said Charles.
Someone in the management office who refused to give his name would not comment on the gate situation.
“BSO is handling that but our condolences go out to the family. This is a very sad situation,” he said.