HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – A memorial near the home where a Hollywood boy was found dead continued to grow Friday night, as neighbors, most who didn’t know the child, stopped by with flowers, candles and stuffed animals.READ MORE: Broward Teachers Concerned As COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Increase
Hollywood Police Chief Frank Fernandez said Friday morning that the body of Ahizya Osceola was found dead, hidden inside his home.
“Our exhaustive search has ended and did not end as expected with a safe recover with Ahizya,” said Chief Fernandez.
Fernandez said the boy’s body was found after an “exhaustive search of the house” in an “obscure section not readily visible to the average person.”
Police have not revealed how the child died and will only say this is an ongoing criminal investigation.
The child’s body is being examined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
“I have a four year old and a two year old and it’s just so sad that he’s gone and we don’t know what happened to him,” said neighbor Yessica Tellez.
“I just broke down in tears to find out that the little boy was deceased and in the home all this time,” neighbor Geminisa Solorzano told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana as she laid a teddy bear at the memorial.
Police and bloodhounds went door to door, house to house. Volunteers also assisted in the search.
Diane Smith and her husband Stephen helped in the search. They had high hopes that the toddler would be found alive and well.
“We didn’t sleep at all last night.We kept walking around. We looked in every trash pile, down the allies. We were hoping he was maybe in a back yard playing on a swing somewhere,” said Stephen Smith.
Throughout the day strangers dropped by with small stuffed animals. They stood quietly, praying and holding one another. They’re trying to find some comfort amid such an awful case.READ MORE: Miami-Dade COVID-19 Cases Continue To Spike
“The neighborhood is completely devastated, devastated,” said neighbor Michelle Key.
What makes so many so angry is the fact that police believe this innocent little boy was killed.
“Don’t even want to talk about that,” said Smith. “That is the worst of the worst.”
Meantime, police were interviewing everyone who had access to the house including the parents.
“It’s a tragedy. It’s a little boy. It’s a little lost soul who just didn’t have a chance in life,” said neighbor Jan Cox.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Child Protective Investigations Unit, which is contracted by the Department of Children and Families to conduct abuse, neglect and abandonment allegations, said Friday that they have had prior contact with Ahizya .
According to documents, “four prior reports were located on the decedent.”
The most recent incident occurred in February 2015.
In that instance, “the alleged perpetrator was unknown however it was suspected the abuse was occurring at the father’s residence.”
That case was closed because there were no indicators of physical injury to the child.
His biological mother, Karen Cypress, who made a tearful plea for his safe return, was arrested last year for child neglect.
According to an arrest report, she was staying in a hotel with her children when a clerk said she found a 1-year old toddler wandering in the lobby alone.
Investigators also interviews the child’s father Nelson Osceola and his wife with whom the child lived with.
Osceola has a criminal history. His arrest record includes a 2013 charges for burglary and battery and a 2012 charge for fleeing and eluding.
BSO’s Child Protective Investigations Unit removed two other children from the house.MORE NEWS: Florida Hospitals Continue Seeing Surge In COVID-19 Patients
A shelter hearing is scheduled for Saturday morning.