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Body of missing Nebraska boy pulled from river

Authorities say the body of a boy recovered from the Missouri River has been identified as Christopher Szczepanik.
/ Source: wowt.com

The body of a boy recovered from the Missouri River on Thursday has been identified as Christopher Szczepanik, according to authorities. The development comes more than 22 months after the boy and his parents were last seen.

Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes and Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine released the information in a news conference on Tuesday morning.

Investigators following up on some evidence located what they believed to be human remains. The remains were recovered with help from a dive team from Yutan.

Through DNA tests, the remains were determined to belong to the 7-year-old boy, authorities said.

Because the investigation in ongoing, authorities were unable to release information on the exact location of where the body was found. The bodies of Vanderlei and Jacqueline Szcepanik still have not been recovered.

Last week, a judge determined there was enough evidence for Jose Olveira-Countinho to stand trial on first-degree murder charges.

Much of the testimony in Olveira-Countinho's preliminary hearing came from interviews with another man suspected in the killings, Valdeir Goncalves-Santos.

Those interviews revealed exactly how the family was killed, according to Goncalves-Santos' interview with investigators.

In court, a detective said that Vanderlei Szczepanik was beaten and his wife, Jacqueline, and son, Christopher, were hanged at their home. Their bodies were then cut and dumped into the Missouri River.

Goncalves-Santos was nearing the end of his murder trial in this case when he made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against the others accused in the case, Olveira-Countinho and Elias Lourenco-Batista.

The family was last seen Dec. 17, 2009.