Officials in Iowa have confirmed that human remains found in Poweshiek County in late September were those of Xavior Harrelson, an 11-year-old boy who went missing in May of this year, a week after completion of fourth grade. What happened to him remains unclear.

In the days after Xavior Harrelson was reported missing, the search for the boy involved up to 500 people. Of those, 125 were from law enforcement, the remainder were volunteers.

Poweshiek is a rural county in the southeastern part of Iowa with a population of just 18,662. Montezuma, where Xavior Harrelson lived, is the county seat, with a population of 1.500.  

The remains, now known to have been his, were discovered three miles northwest of the town on September 30. A farmer working about 4 miles away from Xavior’s home, tending to his bean crop near 110th Street and Ewart Road, found the body in his bean field, authorities said.

At that time, although the clothing on the body was consistent with what Harrelson had been wearing when he was last seen, on May 27, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation expressed caution about the investigation.  

“We still don’t know much,” the assistant director of the DCI said at that time. “We can make assumptions, but that’s always dangerous.” 

What still isn’t known is what happened to him. Xavior Harrelson was 4 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 100 pounds, had brown hair and blue eyes, and was 10 years old when he went missing.

He was seen wearing a red T-shirt, blue pajama pants and black high-top shoes, according to a news release.

On Oct. 15, the County Sheriff, in a Facebook posting, announced the terrible news that he had been notified by the State Medical Examiner that the remains were those of Xavior Harrelson. Sheriff Thomas Kriegel also said, though, that the cause of death “has not been released at this time.”

Meanwhile, the families and friends of other children who have gone missing in recent months continue to hope and praty that their loved one’s fate is not that of Xavior Harrelson.

The Herrington Family

Recently, amid the Gabby Petito investigation, there have been many more reports of missing children and families.

The Herrington family, who had been living in Stearns County, Minnesota, were missing for a long time. The family was believed to be together. but they should not have been together as a matter of law because Robert Herrington had been served with a domestic assault no-contact order two years before.

In a statement posted Sept. 4, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said that the family is “believed to be together and traveling in a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, white with a black top, and displaying Minnesota license BWD 364.”

Thankfully, with the help of the community, the family was located on Sept. 9 in St. Cloud. The parents said they had just spent days traveling in South and North Dakota. The children were safe.

Sam Houston National Forest

Another recent instance where hope prevailed comes out of Montgomery County, Texas, where three missing children were found alive and well after a night alone in the Sam Houston National Forest, about 40 miles north of Houston.

Multiple law enforcement officers from various agencies spent that night and some of the next morning in the forest, too, along with Montgomery County Search & Rescue. Their active search was halted briefly due to poor weather, although first responders remained at the scene throughout and the search resumed as soon as possible.

The sheriff’s office said they did not release photos of the children during the search because foul play was not expected.