Denton police say there is no obvious sign of foul play in the death of a young boy, found inside a car Wednesday morning. An autopsy will help determine how 2-year-old Sarbesh Gurung died.
Police responded to West Prairie Street in Denton around 2 p.m. Tuesday, after the boy's mother reported him missing. A large-scale search ensued, involving more than 200 police and fire personnel and citizens. Denton's police chief, Frank Dixon, said the disappearance happened in a matter of minutes.
"We're going to keep running where the evidence takes us," Dixon said.
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Friends of the child's family gathered outside their home to talk about the news.
"I don't think they can understand the emotion right now," Girish Oli said. "They are really nice parents."
After an extensive search through Tuesday afternoon and night, the boy's body was discovered Wednesday morning inside a vehicle just a few hundred feet from where Sarbesh lived. A neighbor made the discovery when they came out to leave for work.
"It's very surprising to me," said Amar Maharjan, another friend who also participated in the search. "We all missed that."
The boy's family returned home Wednesday afternoon. Police said his mother was treated at a local hospital after having a panic attack when she learned of her son's death. Friends, speaking on the family's behalf, said they attempted to search the area where the boy was found, but said police told them it had already been searched.
"If the chance was provided, maybe we would have spotted him yesterday," Oli said. "I would say everyone here would feel the same."
Another friend Gyanendra Bohara added, "More could have been done and also maybe we could have found him alive."
Bohara says the family has a very similar SUV, also a white Toyota. He wonders if Sarbesh wandered into it by accident. But how?
"I feel a little suspicious," Bohara said. "How a little boy, two and a half years old, how he entered."
Neighbor Mona Langham came by the scene Wednesday with a warning for other parents. She says her three-year-old unlocked the front door and walked out of her house a few months ago.
"I'm so blessed by God that I was right there and I saw," Langham said. "Sometimes we cannot be...every single minute looking at your child, I know that so I feel so sorry for her, for this mother."
Earlier, Chief Dixon addressed questions of how searchers could have missed the boy in the vehicle. He said the windows had a dark tint and a sun shade partially covering them.
"This is not a time to point fingers or assign blame because we're all heartbroken," Dixon said. "Can we conclusively say, 'Did someone pull on every door handle on every vehicle out there?' Obviously we can't say that."
Those who helped search for the boy are trying to come to grips with the outcome.
"I'm surprised we all missed that," Maharjan said. "It's so sad."
Friends and neighbors gathered for a vigil Wednesday night, hoping to show a family who is drowning in grief that they're not alone.
"Now you don't even get to see your child anymore," said neighbor Taylor Olvera. "You don't get to hear their voice anymore, their hugs, their kisses, anything. It's just very sad."
Friends said the family moved here from Nepal in 2006 so Sarbesh's father could pursue first a masters, then a PHD in electrical engineering at UNT.
Denton police say they will be interviewing family members but there is no foul play suspected and no obvious signs of trauma. The medical examiner will determine a cause of death.
NBC5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.