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Missing 6-year-old autistic boy from Seminole County found dead

Humza Syed likely drowned in nearby lake, authorities say

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HEATHROW, Fla. – A missing 6-year-old autistic boy has been found dead in a lake near his home in Seminole County, authorities said.

Florida officials issued a statewide missing child alert late Saturday after Humza Syed went missing from his home in Heathrow.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said Syed's older brothers were looking after the boy on Saturday night. Around 7:30 p.m., the 16-year-old brother went to bed while the 24-year-old brother used the bathroom for a short period of time, Lemma said. When the oldest brother finished, he found Humza was gone and the garage door had been left open.

A neighbor saw Humza around 8:30 p.m. near the neighbor's screened-in pool. The neighbor tried to talk to Humza, but the boy mumbled something and walked away. Meanwhile, the brothers were searching the neighborhood for Humza.

By 9:30 p.m., the brothers contacted sheriff's deputies.The Seminole County Sheriff's Office immediately launched a search of the area with help from about 50 residents, K-9 bloodhound units and agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.

"The call from the citizens in Heathrow was just absolutely amazing," Lemma told local TV station WKMG. "We had hundreds of people walking the streets all hours of the night."

Authorities used helicopters and boats to search Lake Sawyer overnight, but were unable to locate the boy. Crews returned early Sunday morning and found Humza's body in the lake.

Lemma said Humza likely drowned, but the Seminole County medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death. Lemma believes that Humza probably entered the lake shortly after the neighbor spotted him around 8:30 p.m.