First responders prepare for a boat launch late Thursday morning near the home from which Isaac Schroeder went missing Wednesday afternoon. (Putnam County/Steven Coburn-Griffis)
First responders prepare for a boat launch late Thursday morning near the home from which Isaac Schroeder went missing Wednesday afternoon. (Putnam County/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

FORT JENNINGS — The search for a missing five-year-old, non-verbal autistic boy ended tragically last Thursday when volunteers spotted the child’s lifeless body trapped in a log jam in the Auglaize River.

Isaac Schroeder was reported missing shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The call initially mobilized multiple state, county, and local agencies, as well as multiple volunteers. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deployed its drone, and two helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras — provided by the Ohio State Highwy Patrol and Mercy Health — criss-crossed the area. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, having had no success in their search, officials maintained an emergency presence and made plans to continue the search on Thursday.

At 7 a.m. on Thursday, alerted to the emergency by local media outlets, hundreds of volunteers met in Fort Jennings to continue the search. By noon on that day, one PCSO representative estimated over 600 residents from around the area turned out and were split into teams to search an area roughly two miles in diameter. While weather conditions prohibited helicopter assistance, boats were launched by local fire departments, the PCSO, and Ohio’s Division of Wildlife, and dive teams searched area ponds and the river itself.

At 5:07 p.m., according to a release issued by the PCSO, a volunteer worker located the boy’s body roughly three quarters of a mile downstream from his home. Sheriff’s deputies pulled the body from the river and transported it via boat to an awaiting Putnam County EMS unit.

“The Sheriff’s Office extend our sympathies to the Schroeder family and also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers and Public Safety officials that assisted in the search for Isaac,” PCSO Captain Brad Brubaker said in a written statement.